Employee Benefits, K Plans Still Expanding

June 6, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - US workers may still be getting laid off in cost-cutting moves, but more employed Americans are getting insurance benefits and access to a retirement savings plan, according to a new survey.

The Second Quarter 2002 Principal Financial Well-Being Index revealed the fourth consecutive jump in the number of US companies offering four benefits ranked as most important by workers:

defined contribution plans like 401(k)s,

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health insurance,

life insurance,

disability insurance

Workers responding to the Principal survey were apparently grateful for their employer’s benefits package. Some 70% respondents agreed that a good benefit plan encourages them to work harder and perform better – up nearly 9% from the previous quarter.

Not Much Company Stock

Despite highly publicized situations like Enron’s where employees lost their retirement savings as their companies faltered, six out of 10 workers have no company stock in their retirement plan One percent of respondents reported keeping more than 25% of their retirement investments in shares of their firm’s stock.

Other findings included:

  • some 80% of workers expected a tax return and most planned to use it to pay down debt or add it to their savings,
  • more than half of respondents ranked job security as their top concern – virtually the same finding as in the previous four quarters. Nearly 80% are concerned about their long-term futures

The national survey covered 1,500 US workers.