A recent Frontline documentary “The Retirement Gamble” aired on PBS preaching doom and gloom for 401(k) Plans.  It navigated its way through the turmoil of the stock market over the last 13 years emphasizing the risks that participants are “forced to shoulder as they struggle to save enough for retirement.”  According to the broadcast, many participants don’t know of the fees associated with their 401(k), fail to calculate the amount of savings they will need to retire, and take advice from brokers and agents, who may have monetary motivation for their recommendations.  With all these problems, the documentary leaves the impression that the system is broken and should be scrapped all together.

While it is true that the creation of 401k Plans transfers more responsibility for retirement savings to employees, all hope is not lost.  401(k) Plans are a tool better suited to a modern workforce where employees will often experience multiple job changes throughout their lifetime.  There are multiple methods and tools employers may use in connection with  a 401(k) Plan to help participants understand their 401(k) Plan and the risks related to retirement.   A well designed plan, administered by an employer that has the best interests of its employees in mind, helps mitigate the pitfalls within a 401(k) Plan.

With all the recent negativity in the news media surrounding the future of retirement in America, how do you keep plan participants motivated to secure their future?

How do you help with the pessimism that can lead them to stop planning for the future?