A new TIAA-CREF survey of employee-sponsored retirement plan participants uncovers a divide in that Americans are either not familiar or dissatisfied with their investment options.

The national financial services organization finds that approximately one-third of the 1,000 adults surveyed have no familiarity with their retirement plan’s investment options. Also, approximately 36% report unhappiness with these same options.

“Everyone wants to have a comfortable and secure retirement. To get there, it’s critically important for people to understand all of the investment options in their retirement plan, and how those options will translate to income in their retirement,” says Teresa Hassara, executive vice president of TIAA-CREF’s institutional business. “This research shows that plan sponsors —supported by their plan providers — must continue to engage and educate employees about these options and how they work.”

In order to have a plentiful nest egg in retirement, industry experts highlight that employees should be saving at least 10-15% of their annual income. For those familiar with their investment menu, approximately 39% are saving more than 10%. Approximately 21% who are not knowledgeable of their retirement plan’s investment lineup report hitting this same savings goal.

Eighty-one percent of respondents say they trust their employers when it comes to financial advice, which tops out other financial information distributors such as banks or retirement plan providers (69%) and their family (63%).

“Sponsors can encourage employees to take action through targeted communication, education, and advice that resonates with employees based on where they are in their lives,” Hassara says, while noting that the best retirement plans see a collaborative effort from employer, employee and plan provider.

The New York-based organization with ties to managing retirement in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields says lifecycle funds can provide broad and diversified investments by shifting allocations over time.

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