U.S. Retirement End-Investor 2024

Improving Retirement Readiness Across Investor Profiles Through Financial Wellness Programs

Segment, Analyze, Strategize

  • Explore the adoption and development of advisor managed account programs
  • Assess competition for individual retirement account (IRA) rollovers
  • Understand the implications of new IRA-related laws and requirements


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US Retirement End Investor 2020 Detail

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Jeremy Fodaski

Jeremy Fodaski

Senior Account Manager


This annual report represents Cerulli’s investor-level retirement research. The report features detailed coverage of the IRA market, including Cerulli’s IRA rollover sizing model, with in-depth market analysis and projections. The report also includes comprehensive coverage of 401(k) plan participants and IRA owners, examining savings behavior and sources of financial stress. Additionally, this research explores retirement investor trends for different age and wealth cohorts.

A Note From the Author

Financial Wellness Programs: Abundant Yet Underutilized

Elizabeth Chiffer

Elizabeth Chiffer


Bio →

Elizabeth Chiffer

Elizabeth Chiffer


As an analyst on the Retirement team, Elizabeth supports research on defined contribution and individual account markets and provides quantitative support to the annual reports and Cerulli Edge series.

Prior to joining Cerulli, Elizabeth was a research assistant at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, where she worked on papers pertaining to hospitality finance and technology.

Full biography here.

Cerulli finds that only 24% of active 401(k) participants say they are very confident they will be able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. However, the dearth of retirement confidence among average Americans certainly cannot be attributed to a lack of tools, products, and solutions aimed at improving defined contribution (DC) participants’ financial well-being.

According to our research, more than 90% of DC recordkeepers offer financial wellness services to clients and 71% of 401(k) plan sponsors have adopted a financial wellness program, but currently these programs are either not effective or not widely used by participants. Most financial wellness tools and services see usage rates of less than 20%. 41% of 401(k) participants rate the tool or service they used very helpful, but most (57%) are more neutral about the experience.

While most financial wellness programs contain the basic building blocks to lower user financial stress and increase retirement preparedness, these programs are often not constructed in ways that drive action on behalf of the participant. Cerulli maintains the most effective financial wellness programs include some form of guidance, financial planning, or financial coaching, and considers each 401(k) participant’s entire financial situation. In turn, effective financial wellness programs can offer return on investment for recordkeepers by bringing in richer participant data, building potential retail relationships, and winning and retaining plan sponsor clients.

To learn more, access The Cerulli Report—U.S. Retirement End-Investor 2024. In addition to covering financial wellness programs, this research offers complete sizing of the 401(k) and individual retirement account (IRA) markets, representing Cerulli’s most comprehensive investor-level retirement research and includes analysis of the savings and decision-making behavior of 401(k) participants.

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Each report is lead authored by a senior Cerulli analyst with significant industry experience. The report incorporates qualitative and quantitative inputs, based on Cerulli’s proprietary research process. For more on our research process, click here.

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