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Roadblocks to Retirement

A 401(k) is the most-wanted benefit, after health insurance

A recent survey of 2,000 Americans, half between the ages of 18–29 and half between 30–64, looked at how these groups plan for retirement. Across the board, retirement plans are the most-wanted benefit, after health insurance1 (Human Interest, 2022). Additionally, an astonishing nine in 10 industrial workers believe they need an office job in order to even start saving for retirement.

Roadblocks to Retirement: Myths & Misconceptions

Companies with a retirement plan have lower turnover rates

In a separate analysis, we also found that offering a 401(k) plan may lead to lower turnover rates for small to medium-sized businesses. We compared the turnover rates of companies that offer a Human Interest retirement benefit to their employees vs. average turnover rates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that 91% of companies with less than 10 employees have a lower turnover rate. Additionally, companies with: 

  • 10-49 employees have a 74% lower turnover rate

  • 50-249 employees have a 73% lower turnover rate

  • 250-999 employees have a 77% lower turnover rate

You’re never too old to start saving

Nearly half of all survey respondents (47%) said they think you can be “too old” to start saving for retirement. However, 44% of all respondents said they’re using their company’s retirement savings plan, with 30–64-year-olds more likely than 18–29-year-olds to do so (48% vs. 39%).

Additionally, to ensure they hit their retirement age, 37% would leave a job they liked for a better-paying one they liked less, and 32% would change jobs to one with a better 401(k). 

Benefits employees want

At Human Interest, when we think about compensation, we frame it as total rewards for our employees (we’re hiring, by the way!), which includes all of the elements that go into recruitment and retention – benefits, salary, culture, flexibility, and more. But what are employees looking for? According to the survey, a retirement plan (34%) is the most-wanted benefit after health insurance (35%). Interestingly, paid or unpaid leave (27%) is in the middle of the list.


Additional benefits that employees are looking for include: flexibility to work remotely or a hybrid schedule (31%), life insurance (31%), wellness benefits (28%), dental insurance (28%), bonus structure (26%), and mental health services (25%). Vision insurance, stock options, and pet insurance also made the list.

Education is key

Nearly three-fourths (73%) of employees wish they had better 401(k) guidance at work; only 5% disagree. 

To provide education, there are some simple yet highly effective steps you can take to support your employees:

  • Provide a subscription to online libraries, such as LinkedIn Learning 

  • Offer lunch and learns with your retirement plan provider

  • Create a newsletter or blog with tips and tools (for inspiration, see the Human Interest Learning Center)

The path to saving more

  • 67% of employees say that knowing they are missing out on match money would motivate them to increase their savings

  • 52% of employees believe they should max out their 401(k), but only 12% of plan holders saved¹ the statutory maximum contribution

  • 53% of employees believe if there’s no match they shouldn’t contribute to their 401(K), but a 401(k) is a powerful, tax-advantaged savings tool - even without an employer match

  • 74% of employees say savings on autopilot would motivate them to increase their savings.

  • 66% of employees say seeing others regularly saving would inspire them to save more.

  • 1 in 10 workers don’t know if their employer offers a 401(k). If your employer does not, you can ask your manager or boss about a plan for your company. 


This online survey of 2,000 US adults was commissioned by Human Interest and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected between March 14-15, 2022. All participants are paid an amount depending on the length and complexity of the survey. This survey was overseen and edited by the OnePoll research team, who are members of the MRS and have corporate membership to ESOMAR and AAPOR.

Additional resources

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Vanguard, How America Saves. Data represent 1,900 defined contribution retirement plans (mostly 401(k) plans) and 5 million participants.