What’s your participant savings story?

Custom participant savings data can inform plan design changes and drive strategies to improve deferral rates.

Participant saving facts

Participants are getting the message that saving for retirement is important, but many still aren’t saving enough—and they know it. As you can see in this chart, a significant percentage of participants say they need to save more to be on track, and 40% say they need to boost their savings rate by 5% or more to be on track.1

Graph of percentage of participants who are saving less than they think they need to be on track for retirement

What story does your data tell?

When gauging participant savings, examine these key performance indicators:

  • Average deferral rate
  • Average yearly contribution

If you don’t like what you see, don’t be discouraged. Only 21% of plan sponsors are satisfied with participant contribution rates, but certain strategies and plan design changes may help.2

Dig deeper into the savings story

The story behind the data has many levels, and analysis can help you develop strategies to boost participant savings.

  • What’s your average yearly contribution? More meaningfully, what demographics should you target for improvement (age, gender, income, and tenure)?
  • What’s your default deferral rate? Why did you choose that rate? Should it be higher?
  • Is your average deferral rate trending in the right direction? Are you improving?
  • How do you compare to your peers (similar industry, asset size, participant count or plan type)?
  • Do you currently have an employer match? Are your employees saving enough to get the full match?

Take action to boost participant savings

Participants know they need to save more, so they may be receptive to education and plan design changes that nudge them in the right direction. Here are three strategies to consider.


Our education materials make it easy for employees to see how saving more can make a long-term difference and to understand how much they may need for retirement. This flier  provides a short overview of materials.


Stretching the match may motivate participants to increase deferrals without increasing the plan sponsor contribution. With this design, a higher savings rate is required for the full match.

For example, if a plan makes a 100% matching contribution on deferrals up to 3% of pay, the formula could be adjusted to match 50% up to 6% of pay or 25% up to 12% of pay. The plan sponsor’s contribution remains 3%, but employees must save at a higher rate to get the maximum match.


Examine your plan design for opportunities. Some plans use automatic deferral increases to boost participant contributions in set increments—for example, 1% each year until they reach a designated cap, such as 10%. Slowly increasing the deferral rate allows participants to get comfortable saving more over time.

Help participants save more

The story your data tells can help you develop targeted strategies to boost participant savings and meet plan goals. Selecting the most effective communications and plan features for your plan can be challenging. Contact your Lincoln representative for personal support.