Americans believe that owning a 401(k) account keeps them focus on their long-term financial goals and instills a sense of discipline in saving for retirement, according to a survey by the Investment Company Institute.
Nearly 80% of households that contribute to defined contribution plans or own individual retirement accounts expressed confidence in those accounts, the survey reveals. Americans also appreciate the key features of the 401(k) system, such as tax breaks, payroll deduction, and individual choice and control of the accounts. In addition, 85% of DC account holders noted that their plans provide a good lineup of investment options. ICI polled 3,000 U.S. households during November and December 2009.
Interestingly, 70% of the respondents opposed the idea of a mandated annuity or government payout for retirees, asserting that retirees are able to make smart decisions about how to manage their assets in retirement.
Meanwhile, another ICI survey of plan recordkeepers, conducted from January to September 2009, shows that the market downturn did not stop investors from contributing to their DC plans. According to the survey, 95% of participants kept contributing to their accounts. ICI analysts also found that, in the first three quarters of 2009, only 2.6% of survey participants took withdrawals and only 1.3% took hardship withdrawals, while 16.8% had loans outstanding.
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