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March 09, 2007
IBM to Spend $50M to Educate Employees on Financial Planning

IBM has created a multi-million dollar program to educate its U.S. employees on financial planning as the company transitions from traditional retirement benefits to a new 401(k) plan in 2008.

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The new program, called IBM MoneySmart, combines in-person educational seminars, online tools, and personal planning sessions with independent financial experts. The program is designed to help educate employees about personal finance by providing them with the guidance they need to plan for a secure retirement. Employees will have access to experts who can assist them on topics ranging from retirement income planning to college savings and debt management.

"No other company that I'm aware of has ever done anything this comprehensive for its employees," says Randy MacDonald, IBM senior vice president of human resources.

The company is teaming with two financial service firms to develop and deliver these services--Fidelity Investments and The Ayco Company, which is a Goldman Sachs Company.

IBM will launch new program in March with a series of seminars that will be available live via in-person group meetings at IBM sites nationwide or through interactive Web conferences.

The next phase, starting in April, will include unlimited one-on-one counseling over the phone with specially trained Ayco financial planners and Fidelity financial representatives providing personal assistance and guidance to employees.

IBM is fully absorbing the fees associated with the program for at least the first two years. At the end of two years, the company says it will evaluate the program, taking into account business affordability, employee satisfaction, and program utilization.

In 2006, IBM announced that it is freezing its pension plans effective January 2008 and will contribute more to employee 401(k) savings plans.

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