Behavioral research has suggested that default levels do matter. Just yesterday, I was in the supermarket. Yogurt was 10 for $10, so what did I do? I bought 10, of course. The interesting thing is that it still would have registered as $1 each if I bought a smaller quantity. Cucumbers were 3 for $2, so I naturally bought 3, even though the price would still have been 66 2/3 cents each had I bought a quantity that wasn't a multiple of 3. Limes were 10 for $2, so I bought 10, right? Not this time - but I did buy a multiple of 5 - that is, 5 for $1.
What does this have to do with 401(k) plans? More than you might think. For the longest time, the most popular employer match was 50 cents on the dollar up to the first 6% of employee deferrals. Now, according to Aon Hewitt's "2013 Trends & Experience in Defined Contribution Plans: An Evolving Retirement Landscape," the most popular match is a full dollar on the dollar. According to Aon Hewitt, three-fourths of employees save at or above the company match level, so if that holds, savings would rise substantially.
Other noteworthy trends reported by Aon Hewitt include:
For the most part, it appears that employees appreciate the help they get through automated programs and other tools designed to make their decision-making easier. . Few ever decide to opt out. The higher employer match should greatly benefit those who stay with their plan and contribute at the higher employer match level. For those who contribute at lower levels, it would be helpful to determine the obstacles - for example, are other financial challenges standing in the way? If so, is there a way to get these participants to both save more and more effectively address the other financial factors?
Blog Author - Ken Felsher
With over 25 years of writing, editing, and research experience. I enjoy sharing with my readers my love of working with content on a variety of subjects.
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