Few workers have a good understanding of their pension plan | National Union of Public and General Employees

Few workers have a good understanding of their pension plan

Three quarters of workers in the U.S. say they have less than a complete understanding of their retirement plan

(11 September 2009) – A new study shows that most American workers do not understand their retirement savings plans as well as other employer-provided benefits, indicating an acute need for more education.

One in three (34 percent) Americans say they have little or no understanding of their retirement plan and three in four (74 percent) say they have less than a complete understanding, according to research from the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. Employees indicated they had a better understanding of other benefits provided through their employer, such as medical coverage and life insurance.

" The Hartford's research found differences in understanding by both gender and age. More men (75 percent) reported they needed little direction to understand their retirement benefits as compared to women (56 percent). Also, Generation X (ages 30-44) reported having the best understanding of their retirement plan, even higher than Baby Boomers (ages 45-65) who are chronologically closer to retirement.

The survey showed several factors that influence employee decisions when it comes to understanding selecting retirement plans. Employers carry the most weight, with one in five (19 percent) plan participants saying they look to their place of employment for guidance on retirement savings matters. Other key influencers were financial advisors (15 percent), spouses (13 percent), immediate family (12 percent), the Internet (9 percent) and program providers (7 percent), according to the survey results.

Age and gender also influenced who plan participants turned to for advice. Women trusted immediate family members and spouses more than men did, while men were more likely than women to gravitate to the Internet as a source of information. Employers ranked as the top influencer for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers while Generation Y (ages 18-29) - the youngest group polled - was most likely to be influenced by their immediate family.

The survey, conducted by Opinauri in April 2009, was conducted online and polled 1,019 U.S. adults age 18-64. The survey has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE


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