NU Online News Service, March 2, 2004, 6:03 p.m. EST – The youngest workers and older baby boomers have similar views about their 401(k) plans.[@@]

That’s the picture that appears in new survey data released by CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia,

CIGNA hired researchers to survey 500 older boomers and 500 “Millennials” in October 2003. The Millennials were born after 1979, and the older boomers were born between 1946 and 1956. All of the participants said they were eligible to participate in their employers’ 401(k) plans.

Although the Millennials were more likely to be saving to buy cars and houses, and considerably more likely to admit that they didn’t know the answer to the researchers’ questions, they seemed to share many of the fundamental assumptions that their parents hold.

Researchers found, for example, that 44% of the older boomers cited employer-sponsored retirement plans as the most valuable retirement savings tool, compared with 47% of the Millennials.

About half of both the Millennials and the older boomers named “security” as the word that best describes what they hope their retirement savings will provide.

The Millennials also gave a low-tech answer to a question about how 401(k) plan sponsors should communicate with the participants.

When researchers asked older boomers, only 9% said they want to learn about their retirement plans over the Internet. Many — 40% — prefer printed brochures, and 36% prefer face-to-face meetings.

Among Millennials, only 7% said they prefer to use the Internet. Although the stereotype is that Millennials grew up with computers in their playpens, 47% said they prefer printed brochures, and 30% prefer face-to-face meetings.