Offering a 401(k) retirement plan for your employees is a great benefit for them. Getting them to appreciate and take advantage of this benefit is often a challenge. However, a retirement plan with engaged, informed, and participating employees is a successful retirement plan.

Two factors often mentioned when measuring a successful 401(k) plan are high participation rates (80 - 90 percent of eligible employees participating) and high contribution rates. With uncertainty about the future of Social Security, rising health care costs, and increased life expectancy rates, the ability to achieve a fulfilling retirement is heavily dependent on the amount a participant can accrue in his or her retirement plan. It is vital for employees to take advantage of the opportunity you have provided them by participating in the 401(k) plan. Encouraging your employees to start early and increase their savings rates over time can help your plan be successful for both them and you.

Most plan providers offer tools and calculators available on a website to assist participants in determining how much they need to save in order to meet their retirement goals. In addition, encouraging employees to visit the site to monitor their accounts and take advantage of the educational tools may get them more engaged in managing their own retirement savings and making your plan more successful.

Benefits of increased savings
There are generally two high-level strategies to follow to generate a retirement plan account balance that meets retirement goals: start early and increase savings over time. You should encourage all new employees to start as soon as they are eligible at a savings rate they are comfortable with and then to have them re-evaluate their accounts at least annually, if not more frequently, to see if they are on course to meet their retirement savings goals, and if not, to consider increasing their contribution rates.

The hypothetical chart below shows the benefit of an employee increasing his or her 401(k) contribution by a small amount each week and assumes a 6 percent rate of return. The example illustrates the huge difference an additional $25 a week in savings can make over time.

About AXA Equitable
AXA Equitable has been helping members of associations plan for an independent retirement for over 45 years. Since 1995, the program has been available to AAHA members and we are committed to delivering a comprehensive "bundled" service to help minimize the time needed to establish and manage a plan. There's a plan for every scenario, and it's important to know it can be changed to meet your retirement plan needs now and in the future.

Call an AXA Equitable Retirement Program Specialist at 800-523-1125 to discuss your retirement needs or to learn more about our retirement solution offerings. Or, visit axa2plan.com to schedule a free retirement planning consultation.

The Members Retirement Program (contract form #6059) is funded by a group variable annuity contract issued and distributed by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, NY, NY. AXA Equitable does not provide tax or legal advice and is not affiliated with AAHA.

GE-85301 (05/13) (Exp. 05/15)

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