KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Americans finally are getting the message. A recent survey by American Century Investments of 750 Americans found use of all kinds of retirement savings vehicles increased in the past 12 months.
Use of defined contribution plans increased to 63% from 60% the previous year. The greatest jump was a 10 percentage point hike in annuity investments, to 24%.
The self-employed increased use of SEP-IRAs to 17% from 9%.
Use of individual retirement accounts also increased, to 51% from 43%. While 55% of respondents in the survey said they had some understanding of recent changes to IRAs, only one in four thought the changes will be for the better.
Although the survey found almost half of 401(k) plan investors also invest in IRAs, it also found two-thirds of respondents did not make contributions to their IRAs in 1997.
Among reasons given for not contributing, 25% said they could not afford to make a contribution; 13% said they already were contributing to a 401(k) plan; 9% were retired; and 6% said they had never considered it.
Overall, investors were putting more retirement money into stock mutual funds. In the 1998 survey, 42% said they had put some retirement money into equity funds, compared with 32% in 1996. Of these, 35% said they had invested some money in international stock funds.