A Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll revealed that 69 percent of employed U.S. adults receive some type of retirement or other savings benefit from their employer and that just under half of employed adults (49 percent) can participate in a 401(k) plan. Thirty-six percent say their employer matches their 401(k) contributions and 29 percent have a pension plan. Thirteen percent have the opportunity to buy company stock and 9 percent can participate in their company's stock-option plan.
Those with more education are in jobs that offer a greater variety of financial-planning and retirement-preparation opportunities and incentives.
For example, 33 percent of employed respondents who are college graduates say their employer provides a generous company match toward 401(k) plan contributions, compared with 16 percent of those with high-school education or less. Further, one quarter of college grads say that their employer invites professionals to provide financial or retirement-planning workshops. Only eight percent of those with a high school education or less have this same opportunity.
When asked what factors they consider important when evaluating a potential employer, more than half (53 percent) of U.S. adults say they consider a comprehensive retirement-plan package to be extremely or very important, followed by the amount of vacation time offered (50 percent) and the diversity of 401(k) options important (50 percent). Just under half (48 percent) indicate the availability of telecommuting or flexible scheduling as important while thirty-one percent consider their employer's advice about retirement options and financial planning to be an important consideration. About one in four (22 percent) indicate whether the company has stock options is important in their evaluation.
Few U.S. adults say they base their retirement and financial planning decisions on advice from their employer. Forty-one percent of respondents say they make their investment and retirement planning decisions based on
personal research or advice from family and friends, while 20 percent say they rely on financial advisers for guidance and only 3 percent rely on their employer. Further, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) say that their employers play a minor role or no role in their retirement preparations, compared with just 12 percent who say their employer plays a major role. As respondents earn more, they are more likely to say their employer played a major or important role in their retirement preparations, but even among respondents who earn more than $75,000, 59 percent report that their employer played a minor/no role.