Featured Jobs


Senior Pension Consultant (Westlake Village CA / Telecommute)

Retirement Plan Administrator (Birmingham AL / Telecommute)

Retirement Plan Sales Territory Manager (Irving TX)

NQ Client Services Manager (Private Label) (Lake Mary FL / Dallas TX)

Free Daily News and Jobs

“BenefitsLink continues to be the most valuable resource we have at the firm.”

-- An attorney subscriber

Get the BenefitsLink app LinkedIn
Twitter
Facebook

By Date   |   By Company Name


View More Press Releases by Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal

Press release:

Vast Majority Say the Government Should Take Action to Ensure Americans Have Enough to Live on in Retirement

Issued by: Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal

Date: Sept. 11, 2006

Vast Majority Say the Government Should Take Action to Ensure Americans Have Enough to Live on in Retirement

Defined Contribution Plans (Such as 401(k) Plans) Preferred Over Defined Benefit Plans (Such as Pensions) by a Significant Margin

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Most U.S. adults (88%) say the government should do something to ensure that Americans have enough to live on in retirement, according to a new Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal-Finance poll. However, there is no consensus on whether the action should take the form of tax breaks, increases in Social Security benefits, requirements to match 401(k) plans for workers, or increased pension plan requirements. There are significant differences in preferences based on age and income.

These are some of the results of an online survey of 2,339 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Interactive(R) between August 9 and 11, 2006 for The Wall Street Journal Online.

The looming retirement-funding crisis due to the aging population and a large baby boomer cohort moving into their retirement years is one of the most important opportunities impacting financial services companies today. Securing adequate funding for retirement is critical to the future standard of living of so many in the U.S. that President Bush signed the Pension Protection Act in mid August. This bill requires companies to fully fund their defined benefit plans (pensions) within seven years. Due to the high expense of funding pension plans, many experts believe the result will be a significant shift toward defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s, which have already been experiencing increases over the past decade. The 401(k) reforms, which are part of the bill, will have a huge impact on a large number of workers. The law encourages companies to automatically enroll workers in 401(k) plans and match contributions up to a certain amount.

The results of the latest WSJ Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll suggest that the action taken by the government was in line with the sentiment of most adults. As stated above, a vast majority (88%) believes the government should take action to ensure that Americans have enough to live on in retirement, but people are divided, when it comes to the type of actions they would like the government to take. One-quarter (25%) of adults say the government should increase tax breaks for people who have money for retirement in personal savings accounts. More than one in five (22%) say increasing Social Security payments would be a good solution, and 15 percent say employers should be required to match worker contributions into 401(k) plans more than they do now.

  * Adults with an income of $75,000 or higher are much more likely to
    support tax breaks (37%) than those with an income of less than $35,000
    (14%).

  * Younger adults (ages 18-44) are two times more likely than those 55
    years or older to support employers matching worker contributions to
    401(k) plans (20% vs. 10% respectively).

  * Requiring employers to fund pension plans (13%) is the least popular
    option among all.

According to Anne Aldrich, Sr. Vice President, Harris Interactive Financial Services Practice, "The fact that so few adults support the option of requiring employers to fund pension plans is reflective of the lack of trust that Americans have of pensions (and employers' ability/inclination to support them) today. The results of this poll align well with the bill signed by the President. While the bill requires companies to fully fund pensions within seven years, the expected outcome is that 401(k)-type programs will have increased participation."

The survey shows a strong preference for employee-managed retirement plans, with 79 percent saying that, if given a choice, they would choose to participate in a defined-contribution plan, such as a 401(k), compared with 21 percent who say they would prefer a defined-benefit plan, where the employer manages the money and promises a set sum upon retirement.

While a third (34%) of adults say they expect to rely on their own personal savings or investments in their retirement, 16 percent of adults say they would rely mainly on an employer-based pension in retirement, and 15 percent expect to rely on an employer-offered 401(k).

  * Adults ages 18 to 34 are far more likely to say they expect to rely most
    on personal savings in retirement (49%) than their older counterparts.
    Only four percent of those ages 18 to 34 expect to rely on a pension
    plan, compared to 27 percent of those ages 55 and older.


                                 TABLE 1A
                ACTION THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE - BY AGE
   "What, if anything, do you think the government should do to ensure
          that Americans have enough to live on in retirement?"

  Base: All U.S. adults

                                            Total            Age
                                                   18-34  35-44 45-54   55+
                                               %     %      %     %      %

  Government Should Do Something (Net)        88    86     88    92     88

    Increase tax breaks for people who save
     themselves outside of work               25    21     24    28     29

    Increase Social Security payments         22    15     20    25     29

    Require employers to match worker
     contributions into 401(k) plans more
     than they do now                         15    20     20    13     10

    Require employers to put more money into
     pension plans so they are financially
     stronger                                 13    13     12    14     13

    Other                                     12    17     12    13      7

  Nothing                                     12    14     12     8     12

  Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.


                                 TABLE 1B
          ACTION THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE - BY POLITICAL PARTY
   "What, if anything, do you think the government should do to ensure
          that Americans have enough to live on in retirement?"

  Base: All U.S. adults

                                       Total       Political Parties
                                             Republican Democrat Independent
                                         %          %        %           %

  Government Should Do Something (Net)  88         86       92          87

    Increase tax breaks for people who
     save themselves outside of work    25         35       16          33

    Increase Social Security payments   22         15       29          20

    Require employers to match worker
     contributions into 401(k) plans
     more than they do now              15         12       20          13

    Require employers to put more
     money into pension plans so they
     are financially stronger           13         13       17           9

    Other                               12         11       11          12

  Nothing                               12         14        8          13

  Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.


                                 TABLE 1C
              ACTION THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE - BY INCOME
   "What, if anything, do you think the government should do to ensure
          that Americans have enough to live on in retirement?"

  Base: All respondents

                                                      Income
                                       Total   Less  $35K-    $50K-
                                               Than  $49.9K   $74.9K  $75K+
                                               $35K
                                          %      %       %        %      %

  Government Should Do Something (Net)   88     92      88       86     88

    Increase tax breaks for people who
     save themselves outside of work     25     14      24       26     37

    Increase Social Security payments    22     32      23       20     15

    Require employers to match worker
     contributions into 401(k) plans
     more than they do now               15     21      15       12     14

    Require employers to put more money
     into pension plans so they are
     financially stronger                13     14      15       12     13

    Other                                12     13      11       15      9

  Nothing                                12      8      12       14     12

  Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.


                                 TABLE 2
                    DEFINED CONTRIBUTION/BENEFIT PLAN
     "If you had a choice and your employer was willing to put in the
               same amount of money, would you prefer...?"

  Base: All U.S. adults

                                                                   Total
                                                                     %

  A defined contribution plan, like a 401(k) where you              79
  manage the money and live on it during retirement

  A defined benefit plan where your employer managed
  the money, and promised you a sum certain upon                    21
  retirement

  Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.


                                 TABLE 3A
                   RELY ON MOST IN RETIREMENT - BY AGE
       "Which of the following do you expect you will rely on most
                             in retirement?"

  Base: All U.S. adults

                                      Total                Age
                                              18-34   35-44   45-54     55+
                                        %       %       %        %       %

  My own personal savings/investments  34      49      32       24      27

  Social Security                      28      19      25       31      35

  My employer-based pension            16       4      12       16      27

  My employer-offered 401(k)           15      19      24       21       5

  Other                                 7       9       7        8       6

  Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.


                                 TABLE 3B
                  RELY ON MOST IN RETIREMENT - BY INCOME
       "Which of the following do you expect you will rely on most
                             in retirement?"

  Base: All U.S. adults

                                                       Income
                                             Less
                                     Total   Than    $35K-    $50K-
                                             $35K    $49.9K   $74.9K   $75K+
                                       %       %        %        %       %

  My own personal savings/investments 34      25       24       33      44

  Social Security                     28      42       45       18      13

  My employer-based pension           16      11       16       23      18

  My employer-offered 401(k)          15      15       11       16      19

  Other                                7       7        4        9       5

  Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.


                                 TABLE 3C
             RELY ON MOST IN RETIREMENT - BY POLITICAL PARTY
       "Which of the following do you expect you will rely on most
                             in retirement?"

  Base: All respondents


                                 Total             Political Parties
                                            Republican  Democrat Independent
                                   %             %         %             %
  My own personal
   savings/investments            34            38        25            44

  Social Security                 28            23        34            25

  My employer-based pension       16            18        18            12

  My employer-offered 401(k)      15            15        15            13

  Other                            7             5         7             7

  Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.


Downloadable PDFs of The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Polls are posted at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_wsjfinance.asp.

Methodology

This Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive within the United States between August 9 and 11, 2006 among 2,339 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.

With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 2,339 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for the various sub-samples shown in the tables is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About the Survey

The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll is an exclusive poll that is published in the Personal Journal Edition of The Wall Street Journal Online at http://www.wsj.com/personaljournal.

About The Wall Street Journal Online

The Wall Street Journal Online at http://www.wsj.com/, published by Dow Jones & Company (NYSE:DJ) ; (http://www.dowjones.com/), is the largest paid subscription news site on the Web. Launched in 1996, the Online Journal continues to attract quality subscribers that are at the top of their industries, with 766,000 subscribers world-wide as of Q2, 2006.

The Online Journal provides in-depth business news and financial information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with insight and analysis, including breaking business and technology news and analysis from around the world. It draws on the Dow Jones network of nearly 1,900 business and financial news staff-the largest network of business and financial journalists in the world. The Online Journal also features exclusive content, including interactive graphics on business and world news, and online-only columns about the automotive industry, technology, personal finance and more.

The Online Journal offers three industry-specific verticals: the award- winning Health, Media & Marketing and now Law. Health offers authoritative analysis, breaking news and commentary from top industry journalists. Media & Marketing is designed for professionals in the advertising, marketing, entertainment and media industries. Law is designed to provide law firms and attorneys timely information on events and trends important to the legal market. Subscribers to all also get access to the full content of the Online Journal.

In 2005, the Online Journal was awarded a Codie Award for Best Online News Service for the second consecutive year, and its Health Industry Edition was awarded Best Online Science or Technology Service for the third consecutive year. In 2004, the Online Journal received an EPpy Award for Best Internet Business Service over 1 million monthly visitors.

The Wall Street Journal Online network includes http://www.careerjournal.com/, http://www.opinionjournal.com/, http://www.startupjournal.com/, http://www.realestatejournal.com/ and http://www.collegejournal.com/.

About the Financial Services Practice

The Harris Interactive Financial Services Practice provides custom, global research solutions to leading companies in the financial services industry. Research professionals with specific expertise across a range of financial services sectors, including banking, payment systems, securities and investments, and insurance, act as strategic partners to their clients. The Financial Services Practice plays a key role in branding initiatives, customer profiling and segmentation, new product development, customer loyalty management, market planning initiatives and studies that support clients as thought leaders. (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/financial)

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what could conceivably be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/.

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online, visit http://go.hpolsurveys.com/Finance.

Source: Harris Interactive

Web site: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/
http://www.wsj.com/personaljournal
http://www.wsj.com/
http://www.dowjones.com/
http://www.harrisinteractive.com/financial
http://go.hpolsurveys.com/Finance

View More Press Releases by Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal


This is a press release issued by the company named above. BenefitsLink is not the author. Use of any information obtained from this release is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy, and timeliness. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by BenefitsLink.

© 2019 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.