By Alexis Dent, Expert Contributor

A recent survey of working Americans found younger workers — those under 40 years of age — have the greatest interest in investing in a guaranteed lifetime income option within their employer’s defined contribution plan, according to the Secure Retirement Institute.

Nearly two-thirds of Millennials and Gen Z workers say they would be somewhat or very likely to contribute to a guaranteed lifetime income investment option, such as an annuity, and rightly so. 

Younger workers would benefit more from lifetime income because they are the least likely to have pensions. Just under half of Millennial workers expect to fund their retirement primarily with savings from their workplace retirement plan.

“Today less [than] 1 in 5 workers under age 50 have access to a pension, which can provide guaranteed lifetime income in retirement,” according to the Secure Retirement Institute. “In-plan annuities offer that lifetime protection many workers want.” 

The institute found that younger workers are drawn to the idea of being able to start planning for income before retirement, with 36 percent of younger workers noting it as an advantage. 

An annuity is an attractive option because it’s the only financial product that guarantees income that you won’t outlive. Having an annuity in your employer’s retirement savings plan provides financial security and the peace of mind of knowing how much income you’ll receive in retirement. 

The institute expects the Secure Act of 2019 to make it easier for workers to access annuities through their workplace retirement savings plan because it creates a safe harbor for employers who include an annuity in their retirement savings plan. In addition, the Act gives employees the ability to move their annuity to a new plan if they change jobs or retire, or if their company no longer offers that option in their plan. 

However, people’s likelihood to invest in an annuity on their own is seemingly tied to their knowledge of the product, and most Americans don’t have a strong understanding of annuities.

Forty-six percent of workers with a poor understanding of annuities say they are somewhat or very likely to invest in an in-plan annuity. That number jumps to 64 percent for workers who were regarded as having high knowledge of annuities.

While more than half of younger workers surveyed were interested in annuities as a form of retirement income, that number would likely be even higher if there were less of a knowledge barrier in regard to annuities when people are planning for retirement.

“Like many optional features in [defined contribution plans], participation inertia is hard to overcome,” according to the institute. “Unless the income solution is made the default investment, educating workers will be critical to greater adoption.”

About the Author

Alexis Dent is a freelance writer who has written for publications, including the Washington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Glamour and Business Insider. She earned a bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Ithaca College.

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making financial decisions.
Last Modified: November 21, 2022