Most 401(k) participants don't have a clue about retirement planningNews added by Benefits Pro on June 17, 2013

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By Paula Aven Gladych

While the majority of Americans would like to retire before the age of 65, most admit they won’t be able to do so.

A recent nationwide poll of more than 1,000 American workers who participate in a 401(k) plan by J.P. Morgan Asset Management found that the vast majority of savers don’t have a clue how to manage their retirement planning and admit they need professional help.

Seventy-six percent of participants said they need professional assistance with key elements of retirement planning, including how much to save and how to allocate their investments. Despite this desire, roughly half (48 percent) don’t have access to help through work or on their own.

More than half of respondents said they need less than 75 percent of their current salary to get by in retirement, while most financial experts believe they will need more than that. Only 13 percent said they were on track to replace 75 percent or more of their current income in retirement.

Less than one-third of respondents believe their retirement savings will last throughout their retirement and four in 10 don’t have any target at all for how much they need to save.

Just over 40 percent said they plan to wing it in retirement.

The poll also found that financial pressures and paying monthly expenses are the largest source of worry for most people, above job security and health.

Only 20 percent of participants felt they could absorb the information being provided by their plan about retirement saving, but nine in 10 participants said they are willing to spend more time learning how to make better use of their 401(k) program. About 86 percent expressed interest in drawing up a financial plan for retirement.

The majority of those polled said they review their 401(k) account statements but rarely make changes to their investments. Less than half said they don’t even know how to change their contributions or asset allocations.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management conducted the online interviews from Oct. 2-18, 2012. The investment management company has about $1.9 trillion in assets under management.

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