Survey of the Retirement Landscape: Plan Sponsor Perceptions

Survey of the Retirement Landscape: Plan Sponsor Perceptions

Key Findings

  • Impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic affected responses to the 2021 survey. Some plan participants said they got off track with their retirement plans. Nonetheless, plan sponsors see participants as more retirement ready than in 2018
  • The most common Covid-related impact on retirement plans was an increase in hardship withdrawals. Four-in-five sponsors cited impacts, and many noted a need for “post-Covid realignment” to drive better participant and plan outcomes. Covid amplified trends that already were underway: increased attention to plan design, review/rebidding of service contracts and an emphasis on digital experience
  • More plan sponsors recognize the need to enhance financial wellness and retirement readiness among participants, and to improve the potential for better retirement outcomes
  • Survey respondents displayed mixed sentiments on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, with low levels of understanding of the issues; many plan sponsors said they are looking to their DC specialists for education on ESG investing
  • Awareness of caregiving status has increased for plan sponsors, with fewer indicating low levels of caregiver status among their participant populations. In a difference from 2018, the 2021 survey suggests greater awareness of the pressures on special needs caregivers
  • In light of Americans’ heightened attention to social justice concerns in 2021, the survey found plan sponsors were likely to say they could do more to help minority participants take better advantage of their retirement plans
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1 Source: World Health Organization, WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard, June 30, 2021.

2 Source: Morningstar, “Sustainable Funds Weather the First Quarter Better Than Conventional Funds,” April 3, 2020.

3 Source: Based on the findings of “Consumer Sentiment during COVID-19,” a Voya Financial survey conducted March 12–15, 2021, on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,005 adults aged 18+ in the United States.

4 Source: “Retirement Readiness Among Older Workers 2021,” pg. 3, IRI Retirement Readiness Research Series.

5 Source: Based on the findings of “Consumer Sentiment during COVID-19,” a Voya Financial survey conducted March 12–15, 2021, on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,005 adults aged 18+ in the United States.

6 Source: Based on the findings of “Consumer Sentiment during COVID-19,” a Voya Financial survey conducted March 12–15, 2021, on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,005 adults aged 18+ in the United States.

7 Examples of special needs include congenital disorders such as Down syndrome or autism, debilitating diseases such as multiple sclerosis or mental health issues, catastrophic events such strokes and heart attacks and afflictions among aging populations such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.

8 Caregiving in the U.S., The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP, May 2020.

9 Source: “For the Benefit of All: How Organizations Win When they Recognize and Support Caregivers and Employees with Disabilities,” p.3, Voya Financial, 2019.

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