Workers to employers: Help me save!

Workers know they should do a better job of hitting their savings targets. Many of them want their employers to lead the way.

In fact, 75 percent believe they ought to save at least 10 percent of their pretax salary for retirement, according to a recent JPMorgan Asset Management survey of 1,000 individuals. Of those, 76 percent are falling short of the target.

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To help them, employees said they want more help at the workplace, the survey found, including automated savings features to help them boost their 401(k) contributions.

"It's clear that participants know they should be saving more," said Catherine Peterson, managing director at JPMorgan Asset Management.

"When you look at what the employer can do to get participants into the plan: auto-enrollment is a powerful feature," she said. Fully 96 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with that option.

Why aren't people saving?

Workers also said everyday obstacles deterred them from socking away enough.

Nearly half cited debt repayment, and 36 percent said they aren't earning enough to increase their salary deferrals. And more than a quarter said they have other spending priorities.

"Many times it's just inertia, fear," said Peterson. "People don't know what to do, so they don't do anything."

Indeed, employees want help overcoming those hurdles.

Nearly 6 in 10 in the survey labeled themselves as "do it for me" investors — that is, they prefer to leave their investment strategies and decision-making to professionals.

Even more of them — about 75 percent — preferred automatic enrollment into their retirement plan and automatic yearly escalation of their contributions.

"Engage when you can," said Peterson. "Use the tools and resources that your employer makes available to you to understand what you should be saving and how much income you might derive from your 401(k) plan."

"Track that over time, and make sure that you're making progress," she said.