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August 11, 2008
401(k) Enrollment Not 'Automatic' for Most Employers

Less than half of employers that offer 401(k) plans use automatic enrollment, according to the results of a recent poll.

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When asked, "Do you use automatic enrollment for your 401(k) plan?," 56 percent responded "No," while 38 percent responded "Yes." Only 6 percent responded "We don't offer a 401(k)."

Last fall, a study of employer-sponsored retirement plans found that employee support of automatic 401(k) enrollment was overwhelmingly positive. The "Retirement Made Simpler" study found employees whose companies automatically enrolled them were "nearly unanimous" in their support of the practice.

Specifically, it found that 98 percent of U.S. adults currently enrolled in an automatic 401(k) plan agreed they were "glad" their company offered automatic enrollment. Meanwhile, 79 percent expressed "strong agreement" with their employers' practice. (The study was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Retirement Made Simpler, a coalition formed by AARP, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the Retirement Security Project to improve the way Americans save for retirement.)

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