How Employers Help Their Workforce Reach the Retirement Goal

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Patty Goodwin, Surveys

​We all think about retirement … whether we have just entered the workforce or are nearing the golden age. Hopefully, those in the latter group are prepared for retirement and close to their retirement goal. It is important to start retirement planning as early in our careers as possible. Employers can help their employees achieve their retirement goals. MSEC has been surveying employers since 1964 about retirement plans they offer to their employees.

In 1964, 74 percent of employers had a pension plan for their employees. Unlike today, where only 10 percent of Colorado employers have a defined benefit pension plan.

In 1974, MSEC began asking about profit sharing plans and deferred-distribution profit sharing. In 1981, we began asking about IRA’s and tax sheltered annuities. At that time, two percent of organizations had these plans. In 1983, we added questions about 401(k) plans. The year 1985 was a big one . . . we began asking about defined contribution pension plans, thrift savings plans, and, of course, ESOPs, PAYSOPs, and TRASOPs. We covered it all!

In 1964, of the organizations having a pension plan, 39 percent required 10 years of service before an employee was 100 percent vested.; 21 percent required 15 years of service before 100 percent vested. In today’s 401(k) plans, 42 percent of employers responded that employees are 100 percent vested immediately upon hire.

Before 1991, the majority of questions we asked about retirement section focused on pension plans (i.e., mandatory/early retirement age, whether the plan had a social security offset, vesting schedule, etc.). Now we collect more data regarding tax deferred plans, (i.e., 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), 401(a)).

MSEC is currently updating the Health & Welfare Plans Survey for 2013. If you would like to be a part of this survey and have not received your email invite, please contact the Surveys Department, All member participants will receive a free custom analysis comparing your insured benefits to other organizations in your industry and employment size.

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