At a time when many retirement savers are struggling financially, more than half of them are also having problems managing their retirement accounts digitally, according to a new survey.

Fifty-three percent of retirement plan investors are now considered financially unhealthy based on their spending-to-savings ratio, credit worthiness and safety-net measures such as insurance coverage, up from 40% last year, J.D. Power says it found.

Moreover, 28% of retirement savers are now financially vulnerable, according to J.D. Power’s survey of 7,069 retirement plan participants.

The survey was fielded in May to June 2022.

Meanwhile, 63% of retirement plan investors report that they’re having trouble managing their accounts digitally, J.D. Power says it found.

Firms that have websites and apps that offer proactive guidance and help have customer satisfaction rates that score 178 points higher on J.D. Power's 1,000-point scale, but only 22% of the firms evaluated in the survey offered such help, according to the firm.

Customer satisfaction is 191 points higher when retirement plan participants are able to manage their accounts digitally without resorting to customer service, but only 37% of investors believe they can manage their accounts that way, according to the survey, which took into account customer satisfaction as far as the information and content they were able to access, navigation capabilities, speed of the digital platform and visual appeal.

“Retirement investors are under a great deal of financial stress right now and they are looking to their plan’s websites and apps for information and guidance,” Mike Foy, senior director and head of wealth intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a release. “Unfortunately, many are not finding what they need and end up having to call customer service for help. This is a moment-of-truth opportunity for plan providers. When they get the digital experience right, they see a very significant lift in the likelihood to grow and retain participant assets long after they have left their current employer.”

Bank of America, including Merrill Lynch, tied with Charles Schwab for top marks in terms of retirement plan digital satisfaction, each scoring 704, followed by Prudential Financial, with a score of 696, J.D. Power says.