More than half of those with a 401 (k) say it is “very likely” to reach their retirement goals

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On average, respondents think they need to save $ 1.9 million for retirement

Americans generally feel good about their finances and retirement prospects – at least, those with 401 (k) accounts.

The latest services from the Schwab pension plan annual survey of 401 (k) plan members found that 91% of them think their financial health is “somewhat good or very good”.

Additionally, 53% of survey respondents say they are “very likely” to reach their retirement goal, up from 37% last year. The average target for respondents was $ 1.9 million, the same amount as last year.

Aspiring retirees face challenges from COVID

For millions of Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic represented a turning point in the way they spend and save money.

On the one hand, many Schwab survey respondents have one or more plans to improve their retirement prospects, such as saving more in general (48%), increasing their 401 (k) contributions (36%), investing more in apart from their 401 (k) (35%) and debt repayment (34%).

However, many of them also cite a variety of challenges that stand in their way, including:

  • Market volatility (32%)

  • Unexpected expenses (29%)

  • Face monthly expenses (27%)

  • Study costs (21%)

  • Credit card debt (20%)

Amid these struggles, 23% of 401 (k) plan members surveyed believe the COVID-19 outbreak has forced them to delay retirement.

In fact, more than 6 in 10 respondents (61%) believe that their situation could benefit from the advice of a financial professional, an increase of 11 percentage points compared to 2020. More specifically, holders of a 401 (k) diet primarily want help with:

  • Calculating a retirement savings goal (44%)

  • Receive advice on how to invest a 401 (k) (39%)

  • How to Create Income in Retirement (35%)

  • Anticipate taxes at retirement (35%)

Health Savings Accounts Gain Popularity as a Workplace Benefit

Survey respondents ranked 401 (k) plans as the most sought-after benefit in the workplace today, with 86% rating it as a “must have” benefit. Next come health insurance (84%), as well as:

  • Life insurance (50%)

  • Disability insurance (43%)

  • Health savings accounts (38%)

Interest in health savings accounts (HSAs) has increased among respondents this year (38%), compared to 2020 (32%). But while 79% of respondents say their employer provides them with an HSA, only 49% take advantage of it.

A Lively poll conducted around the same time indicated that, with many Americans (about 7 in 8) agreeing that health care costs are rising, 61% are concerned about covering health care expenses in retirement.

Perhaps this is why Schwab found that more respondents were using HSAs to save for health care in retirement – with 54% doing so in 2021, up from 41% in 2020.

Methodology: Logica Research conducted an online survey of 1,000 US 401 (k) participants on behalf of Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. between April 1 and April 15, 2021. The survey participants met the following criteria:

  • 21 to 70 years old

  • Actively employed by companies with 25 or more employees with 401 (k) plans

  • Were themselves 401 (k) plan members

In addition, 100 other Gen Z members with 401 (k) plans also participated. Data from the 2021 survey were also rebased on participants aged 25 to 70, in order to make adequate comparisons with previous editions.


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