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View More Press Releases by American Express Retirement Services

Press release:

American Express 401(k) Participant Survey Reveals Individual Confidence in Retirement Planning Continues to be Driven by Goal Setting

Issued by: American Express Retirement Services

Date: Oct. 6, 2004

Results from the American Express Retirement Services 2004 Participant Satisfaction Survey

MINNEAPOLIS - American Express Retirement Services today announced the results of its 2004 Participant Satisfaction Survey, which found that participants who have set a retirement goal are more likely to consider themselves confident in their retirement planning.   

The survey, which is sent out biannually nationwide to participants in retirement plans serviced by American Express Retirement Services, found that participants who say they have calculated the amount of money they will need to retire are more likely to be "very confident" that they are doing a good job preparing financially for retirement by a 3 to 1 ratio than those who have not calculated a goal. That was an increase from a 2 to 1 ratio between them in 2002. Those same, goal-setting participants also tend to be more satisfied with their retirement plan and tend to contribute more of their salary to their plan and hold larger account balances.         

The survey also found that participants in plans serviced by American Express Retirement Services had a higher likelihood of determining a retirement savings goal-70% of participants versus the national benchmark of 52% (2004 benchmark calculated by Synovate).  

Those surveyed that indicated a strong level of retirement planning knowledge correlated strongly to those with confidence in their investing skills and to those who set retirement goals. As one would expect, confidence in investing skills also was a strong driver of overall confidence in retirement planning.   

"There are some fairly convincing data accumulating from the past few years of our survey that strongly suggests participant confidence is driven by whether or not people set a retirement savings goal," said Rusty Field, vice president of American Express Financial Education and Planning Services. "It's gratifying to see that the message of goal setting is being heard. But we can't stop there. Helping people meet those goals as they aspire to is the all important next step."      

The 2004 survey also found that a large majority of participants (76%) are eager to receive additional, non-retirement financial services through the workplace.  This is consistent with American Express's 2002 and 2000 surveys that found 84% and 65% respectively eager to receive additional, non-retirement financial services through the workplace.    

"Demand for financial education and financial services remains strong, though I'm not surprised by a small retreat in 2004 as markets have improved over two years ago," said Field. "That tendency to take a hands-off approach when the market is improving can often prove to be as misguided an instinct for retirement plan investors as taking overly drastic measures when the market is faltering."     

The survey also measures overall participant satisfaction with plan features, services, investments and communications, and is designed to help plan sponsor clients study the satisfaction level and needs of their plan participants. Because the majority of the survey results are client and plan specific, the entire results of the survey are not available to the public.     

About the Survey
Advanis conducted the internet-based survey between April and June 2004, with a random sample achieved of 3,650 participants in retirement plans serviced by American Express Retirement Services. The American Express Global Marketplace Insights research group provided data analysis.   

American Express Retirement Services, a service group of American Express Financial Advisors Inc., provides corporations, unions and municipalities, and their nearly 1 million workers nationwide with a complete package of financial education, recordkeeping, investments and trustee services for their qualified retirement plans. For more information on American Express Retirement Services, visit     

American Express Financial Advisors Inc. popularized early saving and investing programs for Americans more than 100 years ago, helping give rise to financial planning, mutual funds and retirement plans in the past century. Today, American Express continues its commitment to individuals and corporations with its Financial Education and Planning Services unit of American Express Retirement Services, which delivers workplace financial education programs to more than 2 million workers nationwide.

View More Press Releases by American Express Retirement Services

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