The great majority of workers—four out of five—want to work for an employer that offers a 401(k) plan.
But that doesn’t mean they’re happy with the plans they get—having complaints about the level of service, education and support they receive.
That’s according to the Wellness in the Workplace Survey, commissioned by Fisher Investments 401(k) Solutions, which also found that workers are stunningly ignorant about 401(k)s, with 71 percent failing a basic quiz on the subject and getting at least three out of the nine questions wrong.
So maybe their complaints about the education offered to them aren’t so far off base.
Although 88 percent understand topics like 401(k) matching, their knowledge didn’t extend to other topics that can be critical to getting the most out of their 401(k)s—such as the definition of a mutual fund (only 24 percent of respondents could define it) and the percentage of their salary they need to save to have a comfortable retirement (just 43 percent got that right).
And 66 percent aren’t confident about choosing among 401(k) investment options. In addition, a quarter claim they were not involved or can’t recall how they picked their 401(k) assets, and over 40 percent are not confident that they will reach their retirement goals.
Employees at small businesses, those with between 5–200 employees, are even less confident about their 401(k)—and with good reason. They had a larger fail rate in the 401(k) quiz, with nearly four out of five respondents failing.
This group was also more likely to say that their provider does not make them feel in control of their financial future and that they wish their 401(k) plan was easier to understand.
In addition, half of the respondents said that they don’t currently receive any one-on-one help from their 401(k) provider, but an overwhelming majority wished they did.
Other findings included the fact that a quarter of Americans don’t trust their 401(k) providers, with a third of respondents saying they look to friends or family members for information and guidance on 401(k)s. An even higher number of millennials fell into this group, with 41 percent saying they look to friends and family members for information.
And women are less confident about their 401(k)s than men, despite the fact that academic and industry research shows women tend to make more thoughtful investment decisions.
Yet when it comes to monitoring the progress of 401(k) accounts, only 20 percent of women make it a priority. Moreover, women were less likely to say they know how to pick investments in their 401(k)s.