2020 Employee Retirement Trends Report

JUST RELEASED: 2020 Employee Retirement Trends Report: A look at 401(k) plans at the intersection of a pandemic, presidential election, and racial unrest.

Between a contentious presidential election, heightened attention to racial inequality, and, of course, a global pandemic, it’s safe to say 2020 has been a year unlike any other. In November of 2020, Vestwell surveyed over 1000 employees who were either currently leveraging its platform for their retirement plan or were eligible to do so.

Some of our key insights include:

  • Minorities such as African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos typically save at lower rates for retirement, even though they generally align with Caucasians regarding how much they believe they should be putting away. When looking at Caucasian respondents, almost 40% have $50k+ saved versus only 16% of Hispanics/Latinos and 11% of African Americans.
  • Employees are generally open to plan advisors reaching out to them, with 70% of respondents saying they welcomed their advice when contacted. However, only 41% of participants surveyed said an advisor reached out to them over the past 12 months.
  • Despite the pandemic putting millions of Americans in tight financial situations, interactions with their 401(k) accounts remained relatively stable. Only 7% of respondents took out a loan, hardship distribution, or both. However, 40% of those who leveraged these funds said it was related to COVID-19.

Download the full report below.


2020 Retirement Trends Report

Check out our annual survey report, 2020 Retirement Trends Report: How Perceptions of Recordkeeping Affect the Way Advisors and Plan Sponsors Run Corporate Retirement Plans.

Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll see:

  • Why the majority of advisors believe recordkeeping is broken
  • How advisors and plan sponsors measure the success of a plan (hint: it’s not the same!)
  • What advisors are doing to evolve their businesses in the coming years

2019 Plan Retirement Survey

How Better Understanding Employee Perceptions of 401(k)s Can Lead Sponsors to More Effective Plan Delivery & Design

Did you know:

  • 76% of employees said they understand their plan at least somewhat well, while only 46% of sponsors believe the majority of their employees understand how a retirement plan works.

  • What participants do know is that they need to be saving more. Of those who are putting money away, only 36% are saving over 6%, while 64% think they should be.

  • 86% of employers feel obligated to help educate employees on saving for retirement, but less than 10% of employees view their employer as their “go-to” person for financial advice.

Read more in Vestwell’s newest report which gauges how employees are thinking about their retirement plans and what plan sponsors can do to increase engagement.

Download Report

2019 Advisor Survey

Evaluating Operational Challenges to Drive Scale and Efficiency

In August 2019, Vestwell conducted a survey to learn more about the reigning attitudes of today’s retirement plan advisors and how they are successfully approaching plan sales and engagement.

  • 33% of advisors see managing scale as their biggest hurdle when it comes to growth
  • Yet less than 30% are outsourcing their most basic functions
  • Additionally, 20% are still working with more than 6 recordkeepers
  • And those numbers are significantly higher for plan specialists!

What to dig deeper? Download the full report here.

The Retirement Advantage: How company sponsored retirement plans impact consumer behavior


retirement advantage

While it’s well documented that the majority of Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement, having access to a company sponsored 401(k) or 403(b) plan can greatly impact their retirement readiness.

According to our survey, employees are taking advantage of retirement plans when given the opportunity. 76.7% of those with a company sponsored plan are saving 4% or more of their salary each month (excluding any additional savings from a company match). Not only are those with access to a plan saving, but they also feel confident about decisions regarding their plan. In fact, 62.5% say they’re comfortable with their knowledge around their retirement plan, which means people are either educating themselves or receiving proper education from the plan administrator or sponsor. This highlights the critical role employers play in their employees’ financial future, since simply offering a retirement plan appears to have an immediate and real impact on both security and confidence.

In February 2019, Vestwell conducted a study of 672 employees who were eligible to participate in their company sponsored 401(k) or 403(b) plans, 499 of whom completed the survey in its entirety. The intent was to gauge perceptions of saving for retirement and better understand participant engagement with their plans.

Take a peek at Vestwell’s  2019 participant attitudes report to find out more about employee perceptions and how they engage with their plans.

What Vestwellers are Saying

It’s important for us to continue delighting our partners and living up to our promise of being easier, customizable, and transparent. So we asked Vestwell users how we’re doing.

Here’s what they had to say…

Advisors are happy!

81% are happy with their Vestwell experience


  • 87% enjoy our proposal generator
  • 83% like our investment flexibility
  • 81% are happy with our onboarding process
Plan Sponsors ARE HAPPY too!

100% of those who converted are happy they made the switch!


  • 81% are clear on what they’re paying for
  • 79% believe we’ve reduced their administrative burden
  • 89% feel more secure knowing we take on the fiduciary role
THe result:

83% of advisors believe Vestwell make it easier for them to scale their retirement business.

next up:

And we’re only getting better.

90% of advisors believe we’re continually making enhancements that represent their needs.


To learn more about making the move to Vestwell, visit www.vestwell.com.

*Based on over 400 responses from a 2018 survey of Vestwell clients and contacts



What Clients are Saying

It’s important for us to continue delighting our plan sponsor clients and living up to our promise of being easier, customizable, and transparent.

SO we asked vestwell users how we’re doing. Here’s what they had to say…
  • 89% feel more secure knowing we take on the fiduciary role
  • 81% are clear on what they’re paying for
  • 85% are satisfied with our plan investment options
  • 79% believe we’ve reduced their administrative burden
  • 90% found onboarding to be easy
  • 100% are happy they made the switch to Vestwell


To learn more about making the move to Vestwell, visit www.vestwell.com/employers.

*Based on a 2018 survey of Vestwell clients, with a 28% participation rate.



2018 Retirement Trends Report: Advisor and Plan Sponsor Perceptions

retirement trends

Vestwell’s 2018 Retirement Trends Survey highlights key sentiments of advisors and plan sponsors as they relate to selling, adopting, and maintaining plans.

Did you know:

  • 57% of advisors see growing their client base as their biggest priority
  • 35% of advisors think the biggest mistake plan sponsors make during plan selection is not knowing what they’re paying for
  • 37% of plan sponsors list filings, taxes, and compliance activities as their biggest pain point
  • and more…

To view the report in its entirety, click here.

Solving Challenges of Small and Mid-Sized Retirement Plans

Small and Mid-Sized Retirement

“The small and mid-sized retirement market offers exciting opportunities, but it’s not easy developing the expertise and capabilities to navigate the plan design and compliance. The good news is that you don’t have to do it yourself. Vestwell provides a streamlined, white-labeled retirement platform that acts as an extension of your advisory firm.”

Download White Paper