Survey Finds 401(k) Investors Embracing Online Services

A survey released by Fidelity Investments indicates that investors are taking advantage of online services for retirement planning. Fidelity surveyed 1,116 Internet users who called Fidelity about their 401(k) plans, and 46% of the respondents said that they used the Internet to manage their personal finances. Of that 46%, 75% use the Internet to check their 401(K) balances and 49% use the Internet to perform 401(k) transactions. More than a third said that they used online tools for retirement planning. "The Internet is now a mainstream account management channel for retirement savers. In fact, the volumes of contact 401(k) participants make through our online channel, NetBenefits, is exceeding the number of phone calls to retirement representatives," notes Kathryn Hopkins, executive vice president, Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services Co. "Virtually all 6 million participants serviced by Fidelity are Internet-enabled and we receive some 100,000 online contacts daily." Among the some 500 participants who said that they use the Internet for their personal finances also use it:

  • To check stock quotes (85%).
  • To trade in their mutual fund or brokerage account (40%)
  • To pay their bills (22%)
The majority of participants checked their finances online on a daily or weekly basis. While most participants checked their e-mail from both their home and office computers, one-third of the participants reported that they access the Internet exclusively from their home computer. Fidelity Investments is one of the leading providers of 401(k) retirement savings plans.
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