Despite the chaos in the financial markets and the large losses sustained in retirement account balances, 19.2% of participants in plans with services provided by Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Financial Group actually increased contributions to 401(k) plan accounts in 2008, which is a greater number than the 16.5% combined total of those who stopped contributing or decreased their contributions.
Great news and quite encouraging given the context, says Barrie Christman, VP of individual investor services at The Principal. “We spent a lot of time working with plan participants to maintain a long term focus, and it is encouraging to see this.”
The findings appear in a report entitled “The Total View 2009,” which Principal recently released and which is based on 2007 and 2008 data. The big question, Christman says, is whether participants will continue to put money into their retirement plans in 2009, given the recessionary environment, job losses, and pay cuts. But everything seems to point to people willing to “stay the course,” she says, and this is a result of the continued education and guidance that Principal has provided to plan participants to help them make informed decisions.