Saver, Non-Saver Or Just Confused?

The semi-good news from a poll by Harris Interactive for The Wall Street Journal Online’s Personal Journal Edition: As the chart shows, nearly half of working adults participate in a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan. (The latter is the version non-profit organizations offer their workers.) Among the various bits of bad news, just 34 percent believe they’ll have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Twenty-seven percent expect they won’t have enough, and 39 percent aren’t sure one way or another. It’s no surprise that lower-income workers are less likely to be in a retirement plan. But among workers whose employer offers a 401(k) or 403(b), 12 percent of those earning $75,000 and up choose not to participate. So do 12 percent of those in the $50,000-74,999 range, 14 percent of the $35,000-49,999s and 19 percent of those making less than $35,000. There’s also a large involuntary gap: 50 percent of people in the under-$35,000 bracket said their employers don’t offer them a 401(k) or 403(b), vs. 19 percent of employees in the $75,000-plus cohort. Odd as it may seem, many people simply don’t know whether they’re participating in one of these retirement plans. Overall, 5 percent of the respondents were “not sure” whether they are in one. Among female workers, 12 percent of those 55-plus weren’t sure, as were 10 percent of those age 35-44. Let’s hope the poll prompted them to find out.