In the retirement benefit arena, my company...

Christina Lewellen
September 19, 2007

The Talk, Page 2...

Survey Results for 09/19/2007:

In the retirement benefit arena, my company...:

...has shifted to a 401(k), and offers matching funds or other contributions for eligible employees.





...does not offer retirement benefits of this nature.





...administers a 401(k) but leaves it totally in the employees' hands.





...still offers a traditional pension plan, covering our retirees for their years of service.





 It seems traditional pension retirement plans are a dying breed. While our Talk poll from last week generated a few opinion-page-like responses (“What’s to analyze? The rich get richer and now ensure that they stay richer.”), most respondents simply confirmed my suspicion that companies in the window and door industry are moving en masse towards 401(k) retirement plan offerings—the same as just about any other industry, I would venture to guess.

Based on our poll about retirement benefits, 68 percent of responding companies have shifted to a 401(k) plan and offer matching funds or other contributions for eligible employees. Another 11 percent or so offer their employees a way into a 401(k) plan by handling the administration but leave contributions entirely up to individual employees.

Only 6 percent of respondents still offer a traditional pension plan, taking care of faithful employees long into their retirement years. Andersen Corp. has recently left the ranks of pension providers, announcing last week that it would move to a 401(k) platform.

Finally, about 15 percent of poll participants steer clear of retirement benefits in general.

So I know you just answered my question, but I have another one. We’ll leave it rhetorical for now, but don’t be surprised when it shows up as a poll in a few weeks. With pensions, you—the company—did the work and drove the bus. Now, 401(k) plans put the onus on the employees to take an active role in participation and management. Is your 401(k) offering living in the “if you build it, they will come” realm or does your management team push participation? Send me an email and tell me your approach. Is it your job to nudge employees into responsible retirement planning? Let the opinion-page-responses roll…

(If you want to read about Guardian Industries’ take on 401(k) participation arm-twisting, click here.)

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at

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