Defined Contribution plan participants are feeling confident about the present state of their financial situations and are even more optimistic that their personal finance situation will improve over the next 12 months, according to a new report in our DC Participant Insight Series.
Nearly six-in-ten (58 percent) of DC plan participants overall report that their financial situation is better today that it was one year ago, according to Financial Behaviors and the Participant’s Mindset. Analysis of our research by plan balance finds that half of participants with a plan balance of at least $750,000 say their present financial situation has improved over the same period last year, compared with 55 percent of those with a plan balance between $350.000 and $750,000 and 51 percent of those with a DC plan balance between $100,000 and $350,000.
Across all age groups, Millennial plan participants express the most confidence about their present financial situation in comparison to the same period last year. Seventy percent report their financial situation is better today, compared with 57 percent of Gen Xers ages 36-51, 52 percent of Baby Boomers ages 52-70 and WWII generation participants (41 percent). Analyzing our DC plan participant research by gender find a majority of men and women participants consider their financial situations better today than one year ago (56 percent of men and 60 percent of women).
Projecting to a year from now, a substantial majority of DC plan participants we surveyed (68 percent) expect their personal financial situation will be stronger one year from now than at present. Nearly six-in-ten of participants with a plan balance of at least $750,000 expect their financial situation will have improved a year from now. Equally confident (59 percent) are participants with a plan balance between $100,000 and $350,000, while those with a plan balance compared with $350,000 and $750,000 are less so. Just over half think their financial situation will have improved in one year’s time.
No doubt because they are younger and at the beginning of their careers, Millennials plan participants are even more optimistic about their financial futures. Eighty-four percent of participants ages 35 and under expect their personal financial situation will be better one year from now than at present. In comparison, almost two-thirds (64 percent) of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers feel likewise. The oldest plan participants are the least confident about where their personal financial situation will be in one year’s time (43 percent expect it will be better). Women plan participants are more optimistic than their male counterparts about where their financial situations will be one year from now; seven-in-ten think it will be better vs. 65 percent of men.
DC plan participants indicate they are not overly concerned about saving for the future. Less than half (40 percent) indicate that their household is not saving enough to meet their financial goals. Plan participant concerns about saving enough to reach their financial goals decreases with plan balance. Nearly four-in-ten (38 percent) of participants with a plan balance between $100,000 and $350,000 are concerned they are not saving enough vs. 9 percent of those with a plan balance of at least $750,000.
Gen Xers are more likely than younger and older participants to be concerned that their household is presently not saving enough to meet their financial goals. Fifty-six percent express this concern, compared with roughly one-fourth of Millennials, 39 percent of Baby Boomers and 10 percent of WWII generation participants. Women plan participants are more concerned than their male counterparts are not saving enough to meet their financial goals (44 percent vs. 34 percent).
Current household debt is a concern to roughly one-third of plan participants. We find that the higher the plan balance, the less percentage of those profess to be concerned about the amount of debt their household currently holds. Fifteen percent of participants with a balance of $750,000 are concerned about this, compared with 32 percent of participants with a plan balance of between $100,000 and $350,000.
Gen Xers have heightened concern about the current amount of household debt (43 percent, compared with 21 percent of Millennials, 29 percent of Baby Boomers and 18 percent of seniors.
Women plan participants profess to be less concerned than men about their household’s current debt than men (29 percent vs. 34 percent),