Education Failing to Overcome Employees' Inattention
Pensions & Investments (08/06/01) Vol. 29, No. 16 p.34; Jacobius, Arleen

Plan sponsors say employees are turning a deaf ear to calls to dedicate more attention to their 401(k) plans, despite education efforts. According to a survey on plan participant activity by the Investment Company Institute, almost 60 percent of employees never make allocation changes from the time they first enroll. When they do, most of the allocations are transferred to riskier investments, and nearly 60 percent of those are reallocated only once or twice during the life of the account. Indeed, financial consultants like Lori Lucas with Hewitt Associates says the results are consistent with her observances of 401(k) plan participants. "We learned over time, through the Hewitt 401(k) index, that 401(k) participants are relatively inactive investors," Lucas says. She adds that plan sponsors should have a plan in place that addresses this behavior. For automatically enrolled participants, Lucas recommends that plan sponsors raise the default deferral to the level of the company match and change the default investment option to a balanced fund with some equity exposure.


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