401(k) Is Only Retirement Plan for Many Workers

Have you ever wondered just how important a role the 401(k) plays in the retirement plans of American workers?

Well, we now have an answer: The starring (and sometimes solo) role.

According to the good folks at Fidelity Investments, 55 percent of 1,000 recently surveyed Americans say they would not be saving for retirement if they did not have a 401(k), and 19 percent say their 401(k) is their only savings for retirement.

“This research helps us better understand how Americans use their 401(k)s to help achieve their long-term retirement savings goals,” said James M. MacDonald, President, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments. “It also provides an interesting snapshot of the actions of workplace plan participants in an uncertain economic climate and highlights the importance of Fidelity’s wide array of financial education offerings, from online tools to one-on-one guidance.”

But the survey does offer a ray of hope on the retirement-savings front, showing that 37 percent of working respondents are “building retirement savings in an IRA”:

In addition, 33 percent are in an employer-sponsored pension plan, 28 percent have savings in bank accounts, and 28 percent have investments in stocks or bonds. Pre-retirees 55 and older are the most active users of IRAs, with 44 percent saying they utilize these retirement savings investments

But, with the overall survey highlighting just how dependent American workers are upon this retirement vehicle known as the 401(k), we can only hope that HR leaders are using all the tools in their communications toolboxes to ensure that their workers participate in retirement-savings programs whenever and whereever they are available, regardless of whether the company is matching contributions.

Otherwise, retirement may never come for many workers.