Plan participants are moderate to conservative investors.
There are very few arguments against the idea of a defined contribution plan. The plan participants have a desire to put money into a vehicle that will serve as an investment and is untouchable until retirement age without paying a penalty.
Contributing to a defined contribution plan is a risk-free enterprise. Plan participants are generally adverse to great risk when it comes to investing.
Our newest defined contribution market insights report Financial Behaviors and the Participant’s Mindset asks participants to rate themselves in terms of their investment attitudes. The results indicate the split between safety and risk-taking is not that large.
Almost 60 percent of DC plan participants say they would prefer a guaranteed rate of return for the majority of their investments, which aligns with the fact that 67 percent of participants consider themselves either moderate or conservative toward investing. A sizable 12 percent put themselves down as conservative.
On the other side, 44 percent of plan participants are willing to take significant investment risk on a portion of their investments in order to earn a high return. That compares to only 39 percent of Millionaires with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million who say they would take that significant risk, according to our wealth segmentation research.
There are variations based on the balance in a participant’s plan regarding their attitude toward risk and return, although those with less than $10,000 in their balance have the lowest attitude toward risk (36 percent). From an age standpoint, Millennials are the most likely to take a risk (53 percent) while the interest in risk-taking drops as age increases, down to just 25 percent of World War II plan participants.
As history suggests, males (49 percent) are more likely than females (39 percent) to want to take a risk.
Plan participants are not necessarily investment participants. Thirty-eight percent of plan participants enjoy investing and do not want to stop being involved, while 36 percent like to be involved in the day-to-day management of their investments.
Millennials again lead the report in terms of enjoying investing, with 43 percent saying they do not want to give up investing. That percentage drops as age increases. There is also a wider range of responses between male and female regarding the pleasure that comes from investing (48 percent of males to 30 percent of females).
Considering the toxic atmosphere surrounding the current Presidential nominating races, many Americans are biding their time with their investment plans to see how the election turns out. That’s especially true of World War II plan participants, of which 29 percent say they are going to not make any major financial decisions until the election is over. Only 10 percent of Millennials have the same opinion.
Again, considering the usual caution women report toward investing, it is interesting that 26 percent of male plan participants claim they are going to wait out the election process before making a major financial decision and only 14 percent of women are going to do so.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.