Survey: Nearly Half of Employers Now Auto-Enroll Employees in 401(k) Plans

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on September 28, 2009

News release: “In a trend that is likely to continue, nearly half of U.S. companies are automatically enrolling workers into 401(k) plans to encourage them to save for retirement, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm. The survey also found that the number of companies that use target-date or lifecycle funds as their default investment option has increased sharply in the last few years…Plan sponsors that auto-enroll their employees use a median initial contribution rate of 3 percent, with a range from 1 percent to 7 percent. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of the plan sponsors that auto-enroll also automatically increase the contribution rate by a certain amount each year for their participants. The final contribution rate is between 3 percent and 20 percent, with a median rate of 6 percent.”

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