June 15, 2006

Principal Finds Sentiment for Auto-Enrollment

Employees favor a

Fifty-nine percent of employees feel they should be automatically entered into their 401(k) retirement plan and a standard deferral rate program, according to the latest Principal Financial Well Being Index, which found that an increasing number of employees were contributing to retirement plans because of a "do-it-for-me" strategy.

The 59% is a substantial jump from 2002, when 35% of employees agreed with the notion of automatic enrollment.

"Employees have long been yearning for simplification and do-it-for-me solutions to retirement investing," said Dan Houston, the executive VP of The Principal's Retirement and Income Services, in a statement. "The good news is that in the short period that automatic solutions have been available, we are beginning to see employees' savings and investing behaviors improve as a result of these programs."

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive and targeted 1,100 employees and 638 retirees of small and mid-sized U.S. businesses. Among other findings, the survey found that: 82% of employees said they would want financial planning assistance in the workplace; 49% would pay for these services; and 62% of employees planned to spend 20 years or less in retirement.

"The research shows we have more work to do with many American workers and retirees who remain overly optimistic about the adequacy of the income their savings will provide throughout retirement," Houston said.

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