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The Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM Executive Summary - Third Quarter 2005

The Principal Financial Group®, the nation's 401(k) leader, commissioned Harris Interactive® to conduct online research with employees (ages 18+) of small and mid-sized (SMB) U.S. businesses (firm size 10 - 1,000 employees) about their attitudes and perceptions regarding their financial well being and their current employee benefits. Harris Interactive conducted The Principal Financial Well-Being Index survey of 1,147 employees from July 11-18, 2005 using the Harris Poll Online. With a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 3 percentage points; however, this was not a probability sample. "Propensity score" adjustment was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. This is one in a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in the workplace of small and mid-sized (growing) businesses. The first Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM survey was conducted in the United States in 2000.

Summary of Key Findings

  • American Dream - Employees in firms of 10-1,000 employees were asked if they feel the American Dream has been or will be harder to achieve than for your parent's generation. The majority (70%) agree it has been or will be harder to achieve.
  • Financial Well-Being in Retirement - Employees have many issues regarding retirement they say are keeping them awake at night. Almost half (49%) are concerned about being able to afford good medical care, followed closely by being able to enjoy the same quality of life that I live now (47%). Females are significantly more concerned about the majority of issues than males. Respondents who had issues that keep them awake at night were then asked to identify the one issue they are most concerned about. Almost one in three (32%) is most concerned with being able to afford and pay for the basic necessities.
  • Decision Making and Knowledge - Employees were given a list of major purchases and events that many people may make sometime in their lives and asked if they know approximately how much each one would cost. Among those giving a "yes" or "no" answer, 94% responded that they know how much a new computer would cost, but only 36% know what their retirement will cost. We also asked SMB employees to tell us about the level of information they usually have when trying to make various decisions. Almost half of the respondents (49%) say the have too little information regarding planning and saving for retirement.
  • 401(k) Automatic Enrollment - 18% of the 10-1,000 employee firms offer automatic enrollment with their 401(k). Employees were asked if they would consider enrolling in a program that would automatically increase their 401(k) deferral rate by 1% each year. Opinions have shifted to be somewhat more positive with 49% of employees willing to consider enrollment in this type of plan and only 19% expressing an unwillingness to do so.
  • Social Security - Most employees will manage if Social Security fails to provide them with the level of retirement income they've been expecting by postponing retirement (43%) or by phasing into retirement by working part-time (25%). 48% of employees are extremely or very concerned about the future of Social Security.
  • Rising Fuel Costs - Rising fuel costs are having an impact on many employees' expenses. 43% say rising fuel costs have increased their weekly expenses between $26 and $50 per week. Additionally, 41% say rising fuel prices have had an impact on their holiday vacation plans and 32% say it has influenced their automobile purchasing decisions.
  • Benefits - The availability of benefits has remained fairly consistent when compared to 3rd quarter 2004. However, there has been a significant decline in the availability of the following benefits offered at 10-1,000 employee firms compared to 2nd quarter 2004: Flex Time and Defined Benefit Plans. Employees continue to rate health insurance as the most important benefit, followed by Defined Contribution Plans and then Defined Benefit Plans. The majority of employees (61%) expect the benefits they receive from their employer to remain the same over the next year.
  • Benefits - Health insurance is the benefit most employees would like to see their company improve upon. Of the employees who have health coverage, 41% saw an increase in co-pays and 37% saw an increase in employee deductibles.

Benefits Offered at Businesses with 10 to 1,000 Employees
The top benefits offered at firms with 10 to 1,000 employees are Health Insurance (88%), Defined Contribution Plans (66%), Life Insurance (64%), Free Parking (63%) and Disability Insurance (51%). In table 1 below, comparisons can be made with the previous year's benefit offerings. There are significant differences between responses from this most recent quarter and 3rd quarter 2004 - indicated with "SIG" below.

Table 1
"What types of benefit programs (excluding vacation/holidays) does your company currently offer you?"
Base: 1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

Company Sponsored Primary Benefits

3 Qtr 2005

3 Qtr 2004

Health Insurance

88%

90%

Defined Contribution Plans

66%

68%

Life Insurance

64%

66%

Free Parking

63%

65%

Disability Insurance

51%

55%

Tuition Reimbursement

32%

30%

Flex Time

29% SIG

33%

Profit Sharing/Bonus

23%

25%

Defined Benefit Plans

18% SIG

22%

Financial Planning

10%

11%

Legal Services

9%

 

Personal Banking Services

7%

8%

Stock Options

6%

8%

Executive Benefits

5% SIG

3%

Child Care Subsidies

3%

2%

On-site Day Care

3%

2%

Other

5%

6%

SIG - varies significantly (95% level) from comparison

Benefit Satisfaction
Upon identifying what benefits they are offered through their employers, employees were asked to rate their satisfaction with some of the major benefits. Employees are most satisfied (rating of 8-10 on a 10 point scale) with their Defined Benefit Plan (54%), Profit Sharing/Bonus, (53%), Defined Contribution Plans (50%) and Life Insurance (47%). In comparing this quarter's results with the previous year, there are significant differences in satisfaction levels for Profit sharing/Bonus plans.

Table 2
"Although you may have mentioned more than appear below, you indicated that you have the following benefit program(s) through your company. Using a scale from "1" to "10", where "1" means Not At All Satisfied and "10" means Very Satisfied, please indicate how satisfied you are with each benefit program."
Percentages included in chart represent those rating satisfaction as an 8, 9 or 10.
Base: varies by benefit offered by employer

Satisfaction with Benefit

3 Qtr 2005

3 Qtr 2004

Defined Benefit Plans (N=224)

54%

53%

Profit Sharing/Bonus (N=260)

53% SIG

44%

Defined Contribution Plans (N=792)

50%

53%

Life Insurance (N=752)

47%

45%

Disability Insurance (N=611)

44%

43%

Health Insurance (N=1049)

40%

40%

Stock Options (N=72)

34%

37%

SIG - varies significantly (95% level) from comparison

Benefit Importance
All employee respondents were asked to rate a group of benefits in terms of how important it was to them on a 10-point scale with 10 being "Very Important." As seen in Table 3, there are no benefits that have had a significant change from 3rd quarter 2004.

Table 3
"Using a scale from "1" to "10", where "1" means Not At All Important and "10" means Very Important, please indicate how important each benefit program is to you." Percentages included in chart represent those rating importance as an 8, 9 or 10.
Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

 

3 Qtr 2005

3 Qtr 2004

Health Insurance

90%

89%

Defined Contribution Plans

66%

68%

Defined Benefit Plans

50%

54%

Disability Insurance

49%

51%

Life Insurance

44%

46%

Profit Sharing/Bonus

38%

39%

Stock Options

13%

14%

Each employee respondent was asked to identify what benefits they would most like their employers to offer, aside from those already offered. Defined Benefit Plans top the list with 25%, followed by Profit Sharing/Bonus with 15%.

Table 4
"Which one employee benefit do you most wish that your company would offer you (excluding vacation and holidays)?"
Base: N= 1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

Ranking

Benefits

3 Qtr 2005

1

Defined Benefit plan

25%

2

Profit Sharing/Bonus

15%

3

Flex Time- Flexible Work Schedule

11%

4

Tie-Tuition Reimbursement and Defined Contribution Plan

8%

5

Health Insurance

5%

Aside from those benefits employees would like to see added to their employer's benefit programs, they were also asked to identify what benefits they would like to have improved upon. The top two benefits mentioned are Health Insurance (47%) and Defined Contribution Plans (16%). See table 5 for additional detail.

Table 5
"Which one employee benefit (excluding vacation and holidays) do you most wish that your company would improve upon?"
Base: N= 1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

Ranking

Benefits

3 Qtr 2005

1

Health Insurance

47%

2

Defined Contribution Plan

16%

3

Profit Sharing/Bonus Plan

5%

4

Tie-Defined Benefit Plan, Disability Insurance, Tuition Reimbursement

3%

5

Tie-Life Insurance, Flex Time

2%

Health Coverage Changes
As noted above, health insurance is the top benefit employees would like their employer to improve upon. To better understand what types of changes employees have seen recently in their health coverage, employees were asked to select from a list those changes they've seen in the past 12 months. As illustrated in table 6, the largest proportion of employees have seen increases in employee co-pays (41%) and deductibles (37%).

Table 6
"Over the past 12 months, has your employer made any of the following changes in your health care coverage?"
Base: N=1,049 U.S. Adults age 18+ (employees with health insurance)

 

3 Qtr 2005

Increased employee co-pays

41%

Increased employee deductibles

37%

Reduced medical benefit coverage options

20%

Offered additional medical benefit coverage options

8%

Moved to HRA or MSA plans

4%

Eliminated employer-sponsored health care benefits

2%

Eliminated retiree health care benefits

2%

None of these changes have occurred

43%

Benefits for Recruit & Retention
Firms with 10 to 1,000 employees offer employee benefits to aid in the recruiting and retaining of quality employees. To measure how employees react to the presence of good employee benefits a series of agree statements were asked. There was a significant increase in the proportion of employees who agree that a good employee benefits plan encourages them to work harder and perform better. The proportion of employees who agree that having a good employee benefits plan keeps me working for my current company has significantly declined, however, the proportion of employees who agree that having a good employee benefits plan encourages me to work harder and perform better has significantly increased. - see table 7.

Table 7
"Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements."
Base: 1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

Trending Comparison
(% of respondents agreeing completely or somewhat)

3 Qtr 2005

3 Qtr 2004

Having a good employee benefits plan encourages me to work harder and perform better.

68% SIG

64%

Having a good employee benefits plan keeps me working for my current company.

60% SIG

64%

My company is concerned about my long-term financial future.

23%

26%

SIG - varies significantly (95% level) from comparison

Employee Financial Well Being
In measuring employees' attitudes and perceptions about their financial well-being, a series of different questions were asked of them. First they were asked to identify how much they agreed with some statements relating to how concerned they are about their long-term financial future and how happy they are about their current well-being. As seen in table 8, three out of four employees are very concerned about their long-term financial future. However, a significantly larger proportion of employees than the previous year, agree they have not yet planned for retirement savings/security.

Table 8
"Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements."
Base: 1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

(% of respondents agreeing completely or somewhat)

3 Qtr 2005

3 Qtr 2004

I am very concerned about my long-term financial future.

77%

78%

I am extremely happy about my current financial well-being.

22% SIG

26%

I have not yet planned for retirement savings/security.

33% SIG

27%

SIG - varies significantly (95% level) from comparison

Job Security
Job security continues to top the importance chart when compared to long-term financial future and challenging work. Challenging work has declined significantly in importance since 3rd quarter 2004.

Table 9
"Please rank the following items in terms of how important it is to you."
Base: 1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

Respondent Ranked Item #1

3 Qtr 2005

3 Qtr 2004

Job Security

52%

48%

Long-Term Financial Future

34%

33%

Challenging Work

14% SIG

19%

SIG - varies significantly (95% level) from comparison

Investment Changes
Changing market conditions can spur some individuals to make changes to their investments. To measure what type of changes employees are making, they were asked to identify if and how they are moving their retirement savings. Based upon response, 74% of employees who have retirement savings are not making changes to how their investments are invested while 26% are - 18% to stable and 8% to volatile. There was a significant decline in the proportion of people moving money from stable investments to volatile investments for this year when compared to last year.

Table 10
"Given the current stock market and economic conditions, have you made changes in how you have your retirement savings invested?"
N=1,021 (base - those with retirement savings)

    

3 Qtr 2005

3 Qtr 2004

Yes, I moved from more volatile to more stable investments

18%

21%

Yes, I moved from more stable to more volatile investments

8% SIG

5%

No, I have not made any changes

74%

74%

SIG - varies significantly (95% level) from comparison

Social Security

Table 11
"If the Social Security system fails to provide you with the level of retirement income you've been expecting, which of the following best describes how you would manage?"
Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

   

3 Qtr 2005

1 Qtr 2005

3 Qtr 2005 Respondent Age Groups

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

Remain in workforce longer (postpone retirement)

43% SIG

36%

25% SIG

51%

56%

52%

Phase into retirement (work part-time)

25% SIG

32%

25%

22%

25%

33%

Start saving more for retirement now

22% SIG

18%

43% SIG

16%

5%

3%

Lower standard of living in retirement

7%

9%

4%

8%

10%

9%

Other

3% SIG

5%

2%

3%

3%

3%

  • Significantly more employees in the 18-34 and 35-44 age groups said they would manage if the Social Security system fails by saving more for retirement now (43% & 16% versus 5% & 3%).
  • Significantly fewer employees in the 18-34 age group (25%) said they would be willing to remain in the workforce longer than any of the other age groups.
  • Table 12
    "To what degree are you concerned about the future of Social Security?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

       

    3 Qtr 2005

    1 Qtr 2005

    Respondent Age Groups

    18-34

    35-44

    45-54

    55+

    Extremely Concerned

    26%

    28%

    26%

    29%

    29%

    16% SIG

    Very Concerned

    22%

    21%

    19%

    27%

    24%

    19%

    Concerned

    21%

    22%

    22%

    18%

    22%

    26%

    Somewhat Concerned

    24%

    24%

    26%

    22%

    22%

    29%

    Not at all Concerned

    6%

    5%

    8%

    5%

    3%

    10%

  • Significantly fewer employees in the 55+ age group (16%) are extremely concerned about the future of social security than any of the other age groups.
  • 401(k) Automatic Enrollment

    Do It For Me Trend - In today's society, people are interested in having others handle their matters for them rather than doing it themselves. This is also true related to retirement planning and investments and the trend has been labeled "do it for me." To examine this trend in the 10 to 1,000 employee marketplace, employees were asked to answer a variety of questions related to this trend.

    Automatic enrollment is a program that some employers put into place to aid in retirement plan participation and to encourage employees to save for the future. In automatic enrollment, the employer enrolls all eligible employees into their retirement plan and starts the deferral process by imposing a minimum deferral rate between 1 and 3% of annual salary. To identify what the penetration of automatic enrollment is, employees were asked if their employer had automatic enrollment - 18% offer it. Chart 13 shows the penetration of automatic enrollment by firm size.

    Chart 13 - Presence of Automatic Enrollment - 10-1,000 Employee Firms
    "Does your employer automatically enroll all employees in their 401(k) retirement plan with a set deferral rate percentage (e.g. 1-3% of annual salary)?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

       

    3 Qtr 2005 Total

    1 Qtr 2004 Total

    Firm Size

    10-50

    51-100

    101-200

    201-500

    501-1,000

    Automatic Enrollment

    18%

    18%

    26%

    7%

    19%

    21%

    17%

    No Automatic Enrollment

    72%

    72%

    67%

    81%

    75%

    70%

    71%

    Not Sure

    9%

    10%

    8%

    12%

    7%

    9%

    12%

    Knowing that 18% of 10-1,000 employee firms currently offer automatic enrollment of employees in their retirement plan, a follow-up question was asked to determine if employees would consider enrolling in a program that would automatically increase their 401(k) deferral rate by 1% each year. Opinions have shifted to be somewhat more positive with 49% of employees willing to consider enrollment in this type of plan and only 19% expressing an unwillingness to do so. Table 14 shows the specific breakdowns.

    Table 14 - Agree With Auto Enrollment
    “Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement. If offered, I would enroll in a program that would automatically increase my 401(k) deferral rate 1% each year.”

    Agreement Towards Auto Enroll

    3rd Qtr 2005 Employee

    3rd Qtr 2004 Employee

    Completely/Somewhat Agree

    49% SIG

    46%

    Neither Agree/Disagree

    33% SIG

    28%

    Completely/Somewhat Disagree

    19% SIG

    26%

    SIG - varies significantly (95% level) from comparison

    Managing Investments - Employees in firms of 10 - 1,000 employees were asked to identify how they prefer to make investment decisions regarding their retirement plan. Over half prefer to select investment funds/ accounts on their own. Results were very similar between different age groups. There were significant differences in the percentage of males who prefer to select their own investment funds/accounts when compared to females. Table 15 shows the specific breakdowns.

    Additionally, those respondents who noted they prefer to have someone manage their investments were also asked if they preferred lifestyle funds handled by a fund manager or fee-based financial advisors acting on their behalf. Consistent with last year's results, the largest proportion of employees (55%) preferred lifestyle funds but a significantly increasing proportion are using fee-based financial planners. See Table 16 for details.

    Table 15 - Investment Choice Preference
    "Which of the following statements best describes how you prefer to make investment choices in your company-sponsored retirement plan?"
    Base: US Adults age 18+ with a Defined Contribution Plan

    Investment Preferences

    3 Qtr 2005 Employee

    3 Qtr 2004 Employee

    Gender

    Male

    Female

    I prefer to select investment funds/accounts on my own.

    55%

    53%

    64% SIG

    43%

    I prefer to have someone manage my investments for me.

    41%

    42%

    30% SIG

    54%

    Other

    5%

    5%

    6%

    3%

    SIG - varies significantly (95% level) from comparison

    Table 16 - Investment Choice Preference
    "Which of the following approaches would you select if you had someone manage your company-sponsored retirement plan investments for you?"
    Base: Employees who prefer to have someone manage his/her investments

    Managed Investment Choices

    3 Qtr 2005 Employee

    3 Qtr 2004 Employee

    Select lifestyle/target date funds that are handled by a fund manager based upon my estimated retirement year

    55%

    52%

    Select professionally managed accounts - fee-based financial advisor making investment choices on your behalf

    36% SIG

    27%

    Neither of these

    10% SIG

    21%

     

    N=320

    N=359

    Financing Education - The majority of respondents (82%) feel that children should have partial or full responsibility for financing their college education. A significantly larger portion of the under age 45 respondents feel that children should have minimal or no responsibility for financing their college education than the respondents age 45 and older. See table 17 for details.

    Table 17
    "What level of responsibility do you believe children should have in financing their college education?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

    Level of Responsibility Respondents Feel Children Should Have in Financing Their Education

    3 Qtr 2005

    4 Qtr 2002

    Respondent Age Groups

    18-34

    35-44

    45-54

    55+

    Full Responsibility

    13% SIG

    9%

    13%

    14%

    17%

    9%

    Partial Responsibility

    69% SIG

    73%

    62%

    65%

    74%

    83%

    Minimal or No Responsibility

    16%

    14%

    23%

    17%

    8%

    7%

    Not Sure

    2%

    42%

    2%

    4%

    1%

    2%

    CONTRIBUTIONS FOR CHILDREN'S COLLEGE EXPENSES

    Table 18
    "What percent of your children's total college expenses do you plan to contribute?"
    Base: U.S. adults age 18+ who did not respond that they don't have or don't plan to have children

     

    3 Qtr 2005

    4 Qtr 2002

    0%

    10%

    8%

    1 to 25%

    13%

    11%

    26 to 50%

    16%

    16%

    51 to 75%

    22%

    21%

    76 to 100 %

    22% SIG

    27%

    Not Sure

    17%

    18%

     

    N=896

    N=1145

    2006 Benefits Expectations - Employees were asked if they expect their benefits to increase, decrease or stay the same over the next year. The majority of employees (61%) expect their benefits to remain the same. One in four expects their benefits to decrease.

    Table 19
    "Do you expect the benefits you receive from your employer to increase, decrease or stay the same over the next year?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005

    Increase a lot

    1%

    Increase somewhat

    12%

    Remain the same

    61%

    Decrease somewhat

    23%

    Decrease a lot

    3%

    Rising Fuel Costs - Employees were asked how much of a weekly increase there has been in their expenses due to the rising costs of fuel. Table 20 shows the specific breakdowns.

    Additionally, respondents were asked if the rising cost of fuel had influenced various activities in their lives. Two out of five respondents say it has had an impact on their holiday vacation plans and one-third say it influenced their automobile purchasing decisions. See Table 21 for details.

    Table 20
    "Please indicate which of the following most accurately estimates the weekly increase in expenses your household has experienced due to the rising costs of fuel."
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005

    No Increase

    4%

    Less than $25 per week

    33%

    $25-$50 per week

    43%

    $51-$75 per week

    13%

    $76-$100 per week

    4%

    More than $100 per week

    1%

    Not sure

    3%

    Table 21
    "Has the rising cost of fuel influenced any of the following in your life?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005

    Holiday vacation plans

    41%

    Automobile purchasing decisions

    32%

    Grade of fuel used

    19%

    The decision to carpool or use alternate means of transportation on a given day

    17%

    Other

    14%

    The rising cost of fuel has made no impact on my lifestyle

    29%

    Real Estate Market - There has been much discussion lately about the real estate market and if the bubble has burst or if it is still going strong. Employees were asked when the best time to purchase a new home was. Approximately, three out of five responded that it was in the past. Table 22 shows the specific breakdowns.

    Additionally, respondents were asked if they or someone they know has purchased a home with the principal intent of selling it for a short time later. Twenty-seven percent responded with a "yes". See Table 23 for details.

    Table 22
    "Would you say the best time to purchase a new home?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005

    Was in the past

    59%

    Is in the present

    24%

    Will be in the future

    16%

    Table 23
    "Have you or has someone you know, purchased a home with the principal intent of selling it for a profit a short time later?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005

    Yes

    27%

    No

    73%

    American Dream - Employees were asked if they feel the American Dream has been or will be harder to achieve than for your parent's generation. The majority (70%) agree it has been or will be harder to achieve.

    Table 24
    "The notion of "The American Dream" has involved holding a good job, owning a home, living in a secure community, and sending the children to a good school. To what extent do you agree with the following phrase: The American Dream has been or will be harder for me to financially achieve than it was for my parent's generation."
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005

    Agree completely

    40%

    Agree somewhat

    30%

    Neither agree nor disagree

    15%

    Disagree somewhat

    10%

    Disagree completely

    5%

    Retirement Issues - Employees were given a list of issues and asked which ones keep them awake at night. Females are significantly more concerned about the majority of issues than males. There were very few significant differences based upon age. See details in Table 25.

    Respondents who had issues that keep them awake at night were then asked to identify the one issue they are most concerned about. Almost one in three (32%) is most concerned with being able to afford and pay for the basic necessities.

    Table 25
    "In thinking ahead to your financial well-being in retirement, which of the following keeps you awake at night?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005 Employee

    Gender

    Male

    Female

    Being able to afford good medical care

    49%

    42%

    58% SIG

    Being able to enjoy the same quality of life that I live now

    47%

    44%

    52%

    Being able to afford/pay for the basic necessities

    46%

    39%

    55% SIG

    Outliving my savings

    34%

    27%

    42% SIG

    Being able to afford vacations/visiting grandkids

    27%

    23%

    31% SIG

    Being able to pay for assisted living/long term care

    24%

    17%

    31% SIG

    None of these

    20%

    25%

    15% SIG

    Table 26
    "In thinking ahead to your financial well-being in retirement, which is the one issue that you are most concerned about?"
    Base: N=902 U.S. Adults age 18+ (based on respondents who have an issue keeping them awake at night)

     

    3 Qtr 2005 Employee

    Gender

    Male

    Female

    Being able to afford/pay for the basic necessities

    32%

    26%

    38% SIG

    Being able to enjoy the same quality of life that I live now

    25%

    30%

    19% SIG

    Being able to afford good medical care

    22%

    20%

    24%

    Outliving my savings

    11%

    12%

    11%

    Being able to afford vacations/visiting grandkids

    6%

    8%

    3% SIG

    Being able to pay for assisted living/long term care

    5%

    4%

    6%

    Major Purchase and Event Knowledge - Employees were given a list of major purchases and events that many people may make sometime in their lives and asked if they know approximately how much each one would cost. Almost 19 out of 20 people (94%) know about how much money they would need for a new computer, but less than one in four (36%) know how much they will need for retirement. See details in Table 27.

    Table 27
    "Often it takes a lot of money to pay for major events and purchases. The following is a list of different events and purchases that many of us will make sometime in our lives. Based on everything you know about each item, do you know about how much money you will need to have available in order to pay for it?"

     

    3 Qtr 2005*
    % responding "yes"

    A new computer

    94%

    A new car

    90%

    A down payment on a house

    77%

    A plasma TV

    77%

    A week long vacation on a cruise ship

    73%

    A college education

    63%

    A new kitchen for my home

    57%

    Retirement

    36%

    *Percentages are based on only the respondents who answered with a yes or no response.
    Responses of Doesn't Apply/Don't Care were removed for analytical purposes

    Important Decision Information - The right level of information can be critical in helping people make good decisions. We asked employees to tell us about the level of information they usually have when trying to make various decisions. Almost half of the respondents (49%) say they have too little information regarding planning and saving for retirement. See details in Table 28.

    Table 28
    "Sometimes you have all of the information you need when making important decisions. Other times you might have too much or too little information. The following is a list of different areas where having the right amount of information is important in order to make a good decision. Do you usually have too much, about the right amount, or too little information when trying to make each decision?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005*
    % responding "Too Little Information"

    Planning and saving for my retirement

    49%

    Refinancing my mortgage

    25%

    Preparing my tax return

    24%

    Planning a family vacation

    9%

    Picking out the best new car for me and my family's needs

    9%

    Selecting a new personal computer

    7%

    Retirement Planning - There are a variety of ways to determine how much you need for retirement. We provided a few options to see which is most likely to be used by employees. Two out of five respondents would be more likely to use a personal computer or other electronic tool than any other option. It was followed closely by the thirty-seven percent who said they would be more likely to contact a professional financial consultant.

    Table 29
    "People plan for retirement in a number of different ways. Which ONE of these are you more likely to use to figure out how much you need for retirement?"
    Base: N=1,147 U.S. Adults age 18+

     

    3 Qtr 2005

    Use a personal computer or other type of electronic tool

    40%

    Contact a professional financial consultant

    37%

    Take a wild guess

    15%

    Other

    7%

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