The measurement of financial success of a defined contribution retirement plan is the ability of the plan to fund the retirement of the employees that the plan serves. This ability is not determined at any point in time since for most employees, retirement is several decades in the future and continues for several more decades. Success at any given point in time must therefore be measured by the factors that predict financial success.
This study presents the aggregate results of plan characteristics that drive employee behaviors with respect to participation and contributions made by participants. The study includes contributions made by employers to the extent that these influence participation and contribution. Similarly, investment results are evaluated only on the ability to increase participation and contributions.
Methodology: A survey was conducted of 620 randomly selected employees. These respondents were presented with a list of plan characteristics and asked how much each affects their decision to participate in a defined contribution retirement plan and the effect of others on the level of contributions to that plan.