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Participants Prefer Workplace Plans, Want More Employer Help

Have Americans accepted a shift in responsibility for their own retirement security? A new study by MetLife seems to indicate that they have.

In the firm’s “Role of the Company” survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers, 54% said that individuals are primarily responsible for their own retirement security, versus 27% who said employers are and 19% who said government is.

Nonetheless, respondents also said they want their employer to help them save for retirement. Six times as many — 61% vs. 9% — said they want their employer to be more involved in providing for their retirement security over the next 5 to 10 years than less involved.

“Employees recognize the important role their employers can play in planning for retirement,” said Roberta Rafaloff, vice president of Institutional Income Annuities at MetLife. “They want a trusted partner who can help them navigate retirement security, creating an opportunity for companies to help their employees plan and save.”

Employer-sponsored retirement accounts were preferred to a government solution like Social Security by a 3-to-1 margin, as 74% said they would rather set aside part of their pay in a company-sponsored retirement plan versus 26% who preferred paying into Social Security. Even when asked to choose between saving on their own or paying into Social Security, going it alone was preferred by a margin of 56% to 44%.

The survey also revealed a shared preference among Baby Boomers and Millennials regarding decumulation options. Respondents from the two generations equally prefer an annuity or DB-style monthly retirement check from their employer to receiving a lump sum from the plan to invest on their own.

The survey, conducted in July 2017, involved 1,006 interviews with part- and full-time U.S. employees, ages 21 and over.