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SHRM: Fewer Employers Offer Retirement Planning Aid

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Retirement planning services have become a little harder to come by in the workplace, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

SHRM, San Diego, is reporting that only 39% of surveyed members say their organizations are offering retirement planning services this year. That percentage is down from to 52% in 2006, researchers say.

The researchers are basing that assessment on results from a February online survey of 534 human resource professionals who are members of SHRM. The survey group includes representatives from small, medium and large organizations.

Of those surveyed, 63% said the recession has hurt their organizations’ benefits offerings “to some extent” over the past year, and 72% said their organizations’ benefits offerings have been affected in some way.

In addition to reducing availability of retirement planning services, the survey participants’ organizations have been reducing availability of “individual investment advice.” Just 40% of participants’ organizations are providing individual investment advice, down from 48% in 2006, the researchers say.

Traditional defined benefit pension plans are on the decline, too, with only 27% of organizations offering the plans this year, compared with 48% 4 years ago.

“The only retirement savings and planning benefits offered by more organizations in 2010 compared with 2006 were defined contribution retirement plans (92% versus 81% in 2006) and automatic enrollment into such plans (39% versus 30% in 2006),” SHRM says.

Other retirement plan trends:

- 72% of organizations provide an employer match on some or all of the employee’s DC plan contributions.

- 69% permit employees to take loans from their defined contribution plans.

- The percentage offering life insurance has dropped to 87%, from 92% 4 years ago, and the percentage offering long term care insurance benefits has dropped to 21%, from 39%.

- The percentage offering mental health coverage benefits has increased to 82%, from 73%.


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