Study Shows Educators Would Save More for Retirement if Given More Choice
Newly released research shows K-12 educators with a choice of retirement providers have higher contribution rates, account balances and plan satisfaction
January 26, 2021
NEW YORK – January 26, 2021 – According to research conducted on behalf of Equitable, a leading financial services organization and principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH), K-12 educators who are given a choice of retirement plan providers are more likely to contribute toward their retirement and have better financial outcomes.
The research, Benefits of Multiple 403(b) Providers, surveyed 800 K-12 educators. The research showed when educators chose their retirement plan provider, they:
- Were more likely to participate - When more providers are available, educators are more likely to save. According to National Tax-deferred Savings Association (NTSA) data included in the report, average participation rates in 403(b) plans increased steadily from 25% in single-provider districts to 33% in districts with 15 or more providers.
- Experienced better financial outcomes - Where educators had a choice of providers, annual contributions were 22% higher, averaging $4,843 versus $3,961, and median account balances averaged $40,000 versus $30,000. Median account balances increased steadily with an increase in providers offered.
- Were more satisfied with their plan - Seventy percent of respondents with a choice of providers reported they were satisfied with their plan, versus 57% without a choice. Educators also reported higher levels of familiarity with the details of their plan, with 66% of those with a choice of providers reporting they were familiar with their plan compared to 50% of those without a choice of providers.
- Had more confidence - Eighty-seven percent of those with provider choice said they had confidence in their retirement plan, compared to 80% among those without a choice of providers.
The study also found educators with a choice of providers are significantly more satisfied with their financial professional than those without a choice. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed with both a choice of providers and access to a financial professional felt their advisor mitigates investment risk.
“We hear from educators that the uncertainty and disruption of the past year has caused them to put planning for their financial futures on the back burner while they focus on their students,” said Steve Scanlon, head of Group Retirement at Equitable. “However, it’s exactly this uncertain environment that makes financial planning and saving for retirement more important than ever. By giving educators the ability to choose their plan provider and access to a financial professional, we can help them save more toward their retirement goals.”
Scanlon added, “With the right plan design, processes and employee support, school districts can use their supplemental retirement plans to help their employees pursue long and fulfilling lives after giving so much to our communities.”
Industry best practices can help plan administrators improve processes for seamless, multiple 403(b) plan management. These best practices include maintaining a single plan document when working with multiple plan providers and partnering with other providers to educate employees on saving for retirement.
The survey was conducted by independent market research firm Zeldis Research Associates. More than 800 K-12 educators in multi- and single-provider districts across the United States were polled. The sample was nationally representative by age, region and gender. Twelve percent of the plan participants surveyed are Equitable plan participants.
Equitable, a principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH), has been one of America’s leading financial services providers since 1859. With the mission to help clients secure their financial well-being, Equitable provides advice, protection and retirement strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. Equitable has more than 8,000 employees and Equitable Advisors financial professionals and serves 2.8 million clients across the country. Please visit equitable.com for more information.
Equitable is the brand name of the retirement and protection subsidiaries of Equitable Holdings, Inc., including Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (NY, NY), Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America, an AZ stock company with main administrative headquarters in Jersey City, NJ, and Equitable Distributors, LLC. Equitable Advisors is the brand name of Equitable Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI and TN). The 1859 founding reference applies exclusively to Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company.