Most defined-contribution plan participants want automatic escalation to kick in at 45, according to a survey of 300 workers. Sixty-seven percent of respondents wanted automatic escalation of at least 1% when they hit 45. Forty five percent of DC plan participants would be happy if their employer signed them up for automatic escalations of 2% or more per year after they hit 45.

Consumers, it seems, are getting used to the idea of not being fully in control of their retirement savings. Of the 300 respondents, 38% had been automatically enrolled in their company’s 401(k) plan, 21% had automatic escalation in place and 16% had both. “Sometimes inertia takes over and employees need to be nudged,” said Marie Rice, LIMRA’s research director. Many plan sponsors are hesitant to introduce auto enrollment or auto escalation, although they are entitled to under the Pension Protection Act, because they worry employees will see the move as patrician, but according to these findings, that’s what employees want to happen. “An auto boost helps them overcome inertia, Rice said. For advisors, the study’s findings give them supporting evidence when talking to reticent business owners, she adds.

Prior LIMRA research indicates that most people age 55 to 70, 70%, consider themselves ill-prepared for retirement. Only 15% of participants in this survey had increase their defined-benefit contribution in the past year, and 42% have never changed their investment allocations.

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