From the February 2009 issue of Boomer Market Advisor • Subscribe!

401(k) investors stay the course

Going forward in a rocky market, 401(k) investors say they are staying the course and won't change their retirement plan. "Workers want to keep the basic strengths of 401(k)s - tax-favored savings, individual choice in investing, and personal control of these retirement assets," says Paul Schott Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute. ICI found that throughout 2008:

  • Only 3 percent of plan participants stopped contributing to their retirement plan;
  • Only 3.7 percent of participants took any withdrawals from their accounts; and
  • Fifteen percent of participants had loans outstanding

Further ICI research indicates Americans favor current features of 401(k)s and many believe strengthening Social Security is a higher priority than replacing 401(k) plans with a government-run retirement system. Participants in 401(k) and similar plans say the plan features help them save and invest; nine out of 10 agree that their plan helps them think about the long-term, not just current needs and that payroll deduction makes it easier to save. According to 81 percent of respondents, "the immediate tax savings from my retirement plan are a big incentive to contribute."

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