File the title of this post under “things you’ll never hear me say.”
I’d suspect most of us wouldn’t ever say that… but apparently one in four act it:
On average, employees who fall short leave $1,336—or 2.4% of their salaries—on the table
(Here’s a link to the full report)
Since most of us wouldn’t turn away free money, why do you think people don’t participate?
Believe they don’t participate because they need the money today to pay bills, and can’t afford to put it away even with the benefits of deferred taxes & matching is a cop out. Sure, some people need the money today.
I bet the real problem is deeper and that “needing the money” is an excuse. In fact, they don’t know much about investing, it’s demotivating to watch what put away lose value, and the brokerages don’t help by helping people understand how much they’ve accumulated “for free” (as a result of matching, or tax deferrals).
Until financial products address this motivation issue, this barrier to adoption, things won’t change. Tricks like making 401(k) participation the default will help, but only at the margins.
The lack of trust with the brokerages and lack of knowledge about investing & finance is the real barrier.