Despite the uncertain market conditions and negative headlines of the past year, most Americans who participate in employer-sponsored defined contribution plans continue to support them, according to a new survey.

The ING Institute for Retirement Research found that 84 percent of the 1,050 investors it polled said their employer’s plan was a “very important” part of their retirement strategy. Approximately 92 percent said the best way to save was by having their investments automatically deducted from their paycheck.

Other findings demonstrated that investors did not radically change their behavior or abandon the retirement plans in response to the market downturn. Since the fall of 2008, nearly 40 percent reported joining an employer’s plan or increasing their contributions, compared to the less than 30 percent who said they either decreased or stopped their contributions.

While 37 percent said they had changed to a more conservative asset allocation, 19 percent became more aggressive in their investment strategy. Comparatively few reported either taking money out through either a hardship withdrawal (6 percent) or a loan (5 percent).

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