The vast majority of U.S. households — regardless of demographic and financial characteristics — overwhelmingly support preserving the nation’s current tax incentives to encourage retirement savings. That’s one of the key findings of a new study released Tuesday by the Investment Company Institute.

The study found that 85% of U.S. households believe that retirement savings tax incentives should be maintained with 83% opposed to any reduction in the workers’ account contribution limits. “It is clear that the current tax incentives to encourage Americans to build a nest egg in retirement accounts are effective and command the overwhelming support of the American public,” ICI president and CEO Paul Schott Stevens said in a statement.

The study, which is based on a survey of 3,000 U.S. households in November and December of 2011, also found that investors value the ability to choose and control their investments. Nearly all households with defined contribution accounts, such as 401(k)s, agreed that it was important to have choices and control in the investment options in their plans, the research showed. The majority (87%) opposed the notion of not allowing individuals to make investment decisions in their defined contribution accounts, and nearly eight in 10 disagreed with the idea of replacing all retirement accounts with a government bond.

The study also provides the results of a survey of defined contribution plan record keepers covering nearly 24 million accounts during the first three quarters of 2011. It found that during the first nine months of 2011, 2.2% of defined contribution plan participants stopped contributions to their account while 2.8% took withdrawals. Less than two in 10 (18.4%) had loans outstanding at the end of September, according to the research.

Margarida Correia writes for Bank Investment Consultant.