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A growing number of employers with 401(k) retirement plans are offering financial and pre-retirement planning seminars as well as allowing employees to change their plans on a daily basis, a survey reports.
About 46% of the 668 employers responding to a recent survey now provide financial and pre-retirement seminars, according to Buck Consultants Inc. That has grown from 41% last year, 39% in 1995 and 28% in 1994.
Also, 36% of employers offered investment seminars this year, compared with 29% last year, 24% in 1995 and 16% in 1994.
In addition, 61% of employers allow participants in the employer's most popular 401(k) plan to make daily changes in their investment choices for existing account balances this year. By comparison, 53% of employers allowed it last year, 35% in 1995 and 28% in 1994.
Slightly fewer employers-58%-allow employees to change investment choices on future contributions every payroll period. Last year, 49% of employers allowed that flexibility, 30% did so in 1995 and 20% allowed that flexibility in 1994.
"Clearly, our survey results show that employers want to help their employees to get the most out of their 401(k) plans," said Rich Koski, a principal in Buck's Secaucus, N.J., office. In addition, "they are committed to giving their employees the education, high-tech tools and flexibility to do this."
Overall, about 92% of employers have taken some step to educate participants about investment and savings issues, up from 87% in 1996. More than half of employers said they began the education efforts because employees asked for more information.
Most employers also are using high-technology tools, such as interactive voice response systems, to help keep employees informed. About 84% of employers use such systems now, up from 76% last year and 35% in 1993.
A copy of the 65-page "401(k) Plans: Survey Report on Plan Design-1997" costs $200. To order the report, contact Carrie Estevez, Marketing Department, Buck Consultants Inc., 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, N.J. 07096-1533; 201-902-2555.