Three Things About Your Retirement Plan that may surprise you

November 26, 2019
Three Things About Your Retirement Plan that may surprise you

Many plan participants may not fully understand all the advantages their employer-provided retirement plans offer. Here are three aspects of your retirement plan that may surprise you:

  1. By law, the assets of a retirement plan are held in a trust, separate and apart from the assets of the employer sponsoring the plan. Plan assets must be used solely to benefit plan participants and beneficiaries.
  2. Your retirement plan assets are portable so that if you change jobs, you won’t have to start over. Depending on the provisions of your retirement plan, you may have several options for your retirement savings, such as keeping the money in your current plan, moving your savings to another employer’s retirement plan or an individual retirement account, or cashing out your plan assets.
  3. You can change beneficiaries. If there’s a major change in your life, you have the flexibility to add or subtract an individual or individuals from the list of beneficiaries who would receive the assets in your retirement account upon your death.

Employer-provided retirement plans also offer tax benefits, professional investment management, and an automatic payroll contribution feature, all of which can simplify and streamline saving for retirement.

 Participants’ Impressions on Retirement Plans

U.S. households generally hold favorable impressions of 401(k) and similar “defined contribution” retirement plans. Among surveyed households with defined contribution plan accounts or individual retirement accounts:

  • 91% agreed that their plans helped them think about the long term, not just their current needs
  • 82% said the tax treatment of their retirement plans was a big incentive to contribute
  • 86% had favorable opinions of their plans
  • 83% were satisfied with their plan’s investment options

This table is based on data compiled from American Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving, 2017, Investment Company Institute, February 2018.

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