The state of retirement in five figures

October 16, 2023

This chart shows that only 50% of private-sector workers participate in a workplace retirement plan, while 82% of government workers participate in a workplace retirement plan.
This chart shows the growing popularity of key interventions in retirement plans that can better prepare workers for a secure retirement. Among Vanguard-administered retirement plans, 95% offer employer contributions to participants, 88% offer Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIAs), 66% offer professionally managed allocations, and 58% offer autoenrollment. Of those plans offering autoenrollment, 69% have an autoescalation feature.
This chart shows that retirement plan participation rates are dramatically higher for plans that autoenroll their participants. Ninety-one percent of participants in plans that have an autoenrollment feature are saving for retirement in these plans. For plans that have voluntary enrollment, only 28% are saving for retirement in these plans.
This chart shows how prepared for retirement millennials at different income levels are. High-income families, or those at the 95th income percentile (i.e., those with median income of roughly $173,000), have a sustainable replacement rate (85% of income) that more than meets their spending needs (43% of income) in retirement, while everyone else falls short. Upper-middle-income millennials reach a sustainable replacement rate of 66%, just about meeting their spending needs in retirement (68%). With a sustainable replacement rate of 64%, lower-income millennials fall well short of meeting their retirement replacement needs of 96% of income.
The overall outlook is a bit brighter for millennials in most income groups. For the lowest-quartile income level, they have a 64% replacement rate, compared with 63% for Generation X and 64% for baby boomers. For the lower-middle-income level (50th income percentile), millennials’ replacement rate is 58%, compared with 52% for Generation X and 50% for baby boomers. For the upper-middle-income level (70th income percentile), millennials have a 66% replacement ratio, compared with 53% for Generation X and 51% for baby boomers. And for the highest income level (95th percentile), millennials have a sustainable replacement rate of 85%, compared with 75% for Generation X and 63% for baby boomers. All three generations in the highest income level are meeting their spending needs in retirement.
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