America Saves Week 2022, taking place from Feb. 21 to Feb. 25, is an opportunity to encourage employees to start saving through their workplace retirement plan as early as possible and, if they can, to increase savings each year—even if only by a small amount. To help get the message out, the America Saves 2022 website has social media graphics to download and share with employees.
Increasing their savings rate is a way for workers to pay themselves more during their retirement years. Younger workers will benefit the most by saving more sooner, given the number of years those added dollars will compound and grow, retirement advisors say.
Benefits managers can also take advantage of developments that are helping employees save, such as the increasingly common use of automatic enrollment and the prevalence of target-date funds, according to new research by firms that administer 401(k) plans.
Saving for Secure Retirements
America Saves Week is sponsored by America Saves, an initiative of the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), a nonprofit organization of over 270 consumer, education, advocacy and cooperative members. America Saves coordinates the week with select nonprofit, government, financial services and education partners.
"Since 2007, America Saves Week is a time-honored event for organizations all around the country to partner with one another to promote savings as a way to help Americans reduce debt and build wealth," said Carolyn Pemberton, a senior program manager at CFA.
This year's theme is building financial resilience, she noted. "Being financially resilient is more than having access to money; it includes being conscious of your own financial landscape, being aware of available resources, and being willing to seek out and take advantage of opportunities that will support and increase your financial wellness."
Each day of America Saves Week has its own theme, along with daily theme graphics that can be shared in employee communications, including:
- Save automatically.
- Save for the unexpected.
- Save for retirement.
- Save by reducing debt.
- Save as a family.
Signing up to be a participating organization provides access to the America Saves Week 2022 Digital Toolkit.
Growing 401(k) Savings
Among recently reported retirement savings developments, nearly 40 percent of employees participating in 401(k) accounts administered by Fidelity Investments increased their 401(k) contributions in 2021—a record—the firm announced on Feb. 17. The analysis is based on 23,700 corporate defined contribution plans.
"By making regular contributions to retirement accounts, not cashing out savings when they change jobs and taking advantage of their employer's contributions, individuals were able to keep their savings on track," said Kevin Barry, president of workplace investing at Fidelity Investments.
In addition, Fidelity reported that:
- Employer contributions are up. Eighty-three percent of employees with a 401(k) received a contribution from their employer in 2021, with the average employer contribution reaching $4,080.
- Automatic enrollment is becoming more popular. A growing percentage of employers are automatically enrolling new employees in 401(k) plans and at a higher savings rate. At the end of 2021, nearly 4 in 10 employers had auto enrollment as a feature of their 401(k) plan. In addition, more than one-third of plans that use auto enrollment will sign up new employees at a contribution rate of 5 percent or higher, up from just over one-quarter of plans five years ago.
- Few employees opt out. Less than 1 out of 10 employees who are automatically enrolled in their 401(k) plan decide to opt out.
Dominance of Target-Date Funds
401(k) investment offerings are continuing to evolve to help participants stay on course with their savings, according to investment advisory firm NEPC.
The firm's 2021 Defined Contribution (DC) Plan Trends and Fee Survey, released Feb. 15, found that target-date funds (TDFs) continue to be the turnkey solution. In 2021, 95 percent of 2,021 surveyed organizations were using TDFs as the plan default investment and 38 percent of plans offered index TDFs, which are made up of lower-cost index funds rather than actively managed funds.
"The significant uptake of target-date funds is helping to transform the market in meaningful ways," said Bill Ryan, head of NEPC's defined contributions solutions practice. "Investment managers are now evolving their TDF offerings to include payout features or spending guidance" to aid retirees, he noted.
Related SHRM Article:
Most Common 401(k) Savings Default Rate Rises to 6% of Pay, SHRM Online, January 2022
[Small businesses can find offering a retirement plan to be daunting. SHRM is offering a program through Raymond James that may help. Visit www.shrm.org/401k to learn more.]