Roughly half of U.S. workers have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. The financial services industry has argued that people who lack workplace plans can easily open an individual retirement account.
That's true, but few investors do so. Only about 14 percent of investors regularly contribute to their IRAs, according to a new report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. The remaining assets in IRAs are from when employees roll over their 401(k) plans and other workplace retirement plans.
"IRAs were intended to help people save more for retirement; instead, they have become a holding place for money that was originally in 401(k) plans," said Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, a research economist at the center.