2021 Universe Benchmarks

How workers are saving and investing in defined contribution plans

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted priorities in every part of our lives, including our long-term financial health. A shaky stock market led to skyrocketing trading levels in early 2020, and new legislation included in the CARES Act led to a spike in plan withdrawals. But as discretionary spending decreased and some received stimulus checks, DC plan participation and savings increased. As sports, entertainment and travel slowly return, it remains to be seen if workers will continue to save at higher rates.

Our 2021 Universe Benchmarks report is the latest in a long line of annual reports that illustrate how workers are saving and investing in defined contribution (DC) plans. This year’s version features data from 100 plans covering more than three million eligible participants. It highlights the most common benchmarking statistics, including plan participation rates, savings rates, balances, investment and trading activity and distributions from accounts (e.g. loans, withdrawals, cash-outs and rollovers).