Plan participation is up, but the problems remain

The percentage of workers who participate in a retirement plan increased in 2013 for the first time since 2010, according to a report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Participation rose to 40.8 percent, up from 39.7 percent in 2010. The number of workers participating rose to 64.2 million last year, which is the highest number since 2007.

Let’s not uncork the champagne bottles, this is still a dreadfully low number. If 40.8% participate, that means 59.2% do not. The reason for this pathetic number is because 30 percent of eligible workers don’t participate in their employers’ 401(k) plans.

What can we do about it? A plan sponsor should add an automatic enrollment feature, offer more of an employer contribution, offer investment advice, or perhaps improving the plan providers where improvement is needed.

We have a retirement plan crisis in this country and this survey just proves the point.

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