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October 07, 2005
14 Percent of Workers Decline Employers' Offer of 401(k)

Nearly 15 percent of workers decline the opportunity to participate in their employers' 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan, according to a survey by the Wall Street Journal Online and Harris Interactive.

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The survey found that 45 percent of workers currently participate in a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan while 14 percent are offered the opportunity to participate by their employer but have chosen against. Thirty-five percent of workers do not participate because their employer does not offer them the option, according to the survey.

Less than one-quarter (22 percent) of workers with annual household incomes of $35,000 or less participate in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, compared to 40 percent of workers with incomes of $35,000 to $49,999, 54 percent of workers with incomes of $50,000 to $74,999, and 66 percent of workers with incomes of $75,000 or more, according to the survey.

Nineteen percent of the lowest income bracket say they do not participate in their employers' 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan because they have chosen not to, compared with 12 percent in the two highest income brackets.

Male workers aged 45 to 54 are most likely to participate in one of these retirement plans (59%) while female workers aged 18 to 34 are most likely to say they do not participate because these plans have not been made available to them by their employer (45%).

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey within the United States between September 14 and 16, 2005 among a national cross section of 2,025 adults, ages 18 years and over.

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