TIAA-CREF Higher Education Survey Summary of Results

Retirement Landscape

1. At what age are you planning to retire?
2. Thinking back 10 years ago, at what age did you think you would retire?
  Higher Education (N=727) General Population (N=1,000)
Under 65 26% 32%
65 30% 32%
66-68 17% 13%
69-70 9% 7%
Over 70 7% 5%
Never 2% 3%
I don’t know 9% 9%
3. How would you compare your retirement savings and planning behavior compared to your peers? Would you say your retirement savings and planning behavior is…
  Higher Education (N=727) General Population (N=1,000)
NET: More diligent 53% 56%
Much more diligent 17% 20%
More diligent 36% 35%
About the same 35% 32%
NET: Less diligent 12% 12%
Less diligent 10% 9%
Much less diligent 2% 3%

Retirement Plan Loans

4. Have you ever taken a loan from the savings in your retirement plan?
  Higher Education (N=727) General Population (N=1,000)
Yes 16% 29%
No 84% 71%
5. [If yes] How much of your savings did you borrow?
  Higher Education (N=117) General Population (N=285)
10% or less 30% 26%
11-20% 19% 23%
21-30% 12% 17%
31-40% 15% 13%
41-50% 10% 8%
More than 50% 7% 9%
Not sure 6% 4%
6. [If yes] Did you decrease your contribution rate while you were paying back the loan?
  Higher Education (N=117) General Population (N=285)
Yes, I contributed 75% or more of what I’d contributed previously 9% 19%
Yes, I contributed 50% to less than 75% of what I’d contributed previously 17% 17%
Yes, I contributed 25% to less than 50% of what I’d contributed previously 11% 10%
Yes, I contributed 25% or less of what I’d contributed previously 1% 6%
Yes, I stopped contributing entirely while I paid back my loan 8% 5%
No, I kept the same rate of contribution while making loan payments 54% 43%
 
7. [If yes] Which of the following best describes how you feel about taking out the loan on your 401(k) or 403(b)?
  Higher Education (N=117) General Population (N=285)
I regret it and would not do it again 21% 21%
I regret it but would do it in the future 21% 23%
I don’t regret it but would not do it again 27% 23%
I don’t regret it and would consider doing it again in the future 31% 33%

Retirement Plan Matching Contributions

8. Does your employer offer a matching incentive where if you contribute to the retirement plan they match all or a percentage of your contribution?
  Higher Education (N=727) General Population (N=1000)
Yes 73% 78%
No 22% 17%
I don’t know 5% 5%
9. [If yes] What percentage of your salary will your employer match?
  Higher Education (N=533) General Population (N=780)
Less than 1% 3% 1%
1-4% 20% 39%
5-8% 43% 34%
8-12% 23% 10%
More than 12% 4% 9%
I don’t know 7% 7%
10. [If yes] How much of your contribution does your employer match?
  Higher Education (N=533) General Population (N=780)
0-25% of my contribution 23% 27%
26-50% of my contribution 13% 23%
51-75% of my contribution 8% 13%
76-99% of my contribution 6% 6%
All of my contribution 40% 23%
I don’t know 9% 9%
 
11. [If yes] Do you contribute the maximum amount that your employer will match?
  Higher Education (N=533) General Population (N=780)
Yes 82% 77%
No 13% 20%
I don’t know 5% 3%

Retirement Plan Enrollment

 
12. Did your current employer automatically enroll you in the company’s 401(k) or 403(b) retirement savings plan?
  Higher Education (N=727) General Population (N=1000)
Yes 44% 44%
No 50% 53%
I don’t know 6% 3%
13. [If no] How long did you wait before enrolling in the plan?
  Higher Education (N=404) General Population (N=556)
Less than 3 months 54% 41%
3 months to less than 6 months 8% 15%
6 months to less than 1 year 10% 13%
1 year to less than 2 years 10% 14%
2 years or more 13% 10%
I don’t know 6% 7%
 
14. [If no] Which of the following, if any, had an impact on your decision to enroll in the plan? Please select all that apply.
  Higher Education (N=404) General Population (N=556)
Printed materials from your employer 32% 31%
Conversation with friends or family 26% 31%
Conversation with HR or benefits administrator 30% 23%
Printed materials from your retirement provider 20% 20%
Conversation with advisor or other representative from retirement provider 16% 20%
None of these 18% 17%
Email from your employer 11% 10%
Online tool or calculator 6% 10%
Other 13% 9%
Email from your retirement provider 5% 5%

Transitioning to Retirement

15. What will be the most important factor in determining when you retire?
  Higher Education (N=727) General Population (N=1000)
Financial readiness 52% 52%
Health 15% 22%
Mandatory retirement age 4% 7%
No longer feeling engaged at work 15% 18%
Desire to pursue new interests 11% 10%
     

16. What are you most looking forward to about retirement?
17. What steps have you taken already to prepare for retirement? Please select all that apply.
 
18. How will your lifestyle in retirement be different than it is today? Please select all that apply.

  Higher
Education
(N=727)
General
Population
(N=1,000)
I will be working part-time 37% 31%
I will do more volunteer work 37% 21%
I will spend more conservatively for entertainment and other non-necessities 31% 36%
I will travel more inside and outside the US 54% 43%
I will downgrade my living quarters to something smaller and less costly 31% 25%
Other 9% 6%
None of the above 6% 9%
19. [Among Respondents Age 55-64] As you approach retirement, what do you wish you had done differently when you were younger? Please select all that apply.
  Higher
Education
(N=179)
General
Population
(N=140)
Started saving for retirement sooner 45% 52%
Saved more of my salary for retirement 35% 47%
Lived a more moderate lifestyle 14% 9%
Spent more time with my family 16% 14%
Taken less time out from my career to care for children or aging parents 2% 2%
Worked more diligently to advance in my career for higher-paying positions 15% 9%
Worked with a financial advisor to help me save more intelligently 20% 18%
Invested my retirement savings more conservatively 6% 9%
Invested my retirement savings more aggressively 25% 34%
Other 6% 6%
None 18% 6%

TIAA-CREF Survey Methodology

TIAA-CREF’s Higher Education Survey was conducted among a sample of 727 adults currently contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, conducted by KRC Research, an independent research firm. The survey was conducted between May 19 and June 16, 2014.
 
Statistics about the general population of adults come from a TIAA-CREF survey, also conducted by KRC Research, which polled a random sample of 1,000 adults nationwide with an employer-sponsored retirement plan. The survey was conducted between May 19 and May 28, 2014. Data was weighted by key demographic variables to ensure the sample is representative of the employed population contributing to defined-contribution plans. Participants in each survey were asked identical questions.
 
Respondents for these surveys were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. Because the samples are based on those who initially self-selected for participation, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to, sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options.
 

The material is for informational purposes only and should not be regarded as a recommendation or an offer to buy or sell any product or service to which this information may relate. Certain products and services may not be available to all entities or persons. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Results experienced by one individual may not be typical of all participants.  Individual results and experiences will vary.

TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., and Nuveen Securities, LLC, Members FINRA and SIPC, distribute securities products.

 
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