Industry Voices

SURVEY SAYS: Energy Crisis

June 21, 2001 - Several readers opined (along with their responses) that they expected this week's survey to be a "doozie" --and they were right. In terms of a final result, there wasn't much suspense --a full 84% opposed any kind of price caps/controls to help with California's energy crisis. Most seemed to believe that (a) California had gotten itself into this "mess", and now had to extricate itself or (b) other states had similar energy crises at other times, with no federal intervention. Of the 15% that supported at least some level of support (and no, they weren't all from California), most were concerned about the potential impact on lower income families --and a concern that there were energy firms taking advantage of the situation to unfairly gouge prices. One percent -- was honest enough to admit that they didn't know enough about the situation/consequences to weigh in (although there was also: First let me state that I do not have enough understanding of why there is a shortage of power out west (I.e. production capacity vs. usage and the history of energy companies there). But I never let facts get in the way of a good opinion)

Survey Says: Our Readers Ring in on 2002 Matching Contributions

While it may come as a surprise to most 401(k) participants, the past couple of weeks have reminded us all that those defined contribution plan matching contributions are, generally speaking, discretionary on the part of the employer. This week we asked our readers if their company had discussed modifying their 2002 match and/or profit-sharing contribution level.

SURVEY SAYS: Coping with Healthcare Costs

November 7, 2002 ( - Odds are you are in the middle of annual health-care enrollment - or soon will be. This week, we asked our readers to share - what they were sharing - with workers. The annual healthcare increase.

SURVEY SAYS: Digital Assistants

April 19, 2001 - As you might expect, when it comes to personal digital assistants, people tend to fall into one of two camps -- you either love them and can't do without them -- or you can't imagine why anyone would spend that much money for a calendar/address book. Our survey respondents exhibited much of the same polarity, with a noticeable minority on the fence.

SURVEY SAYS: 'Reasonable' Blackout Periods?

February 7, 2002 ( - Over the past several weeks we have touched on several aspects of the Enron case - but while notice may be an issue - the item gaining most of the press has been the length of the trading blackout.


May 17, 2001 - Yesterday we noted the dilemma of plan sponsors and providers alike -- why don't participants -- at least large numbers of them -- take advantage of investment advice? Realizing that the reasons can be as diverse as the individual participants themselves, our readers were --as usual --most generous in the response.

SURVEY SAYS: Account Balance Performance

August 16, 2001 - The experience of the "average" 401(k) investor may be more interesting than practical to most of us, but when people start trying to make policy decisions based on those numbers, well --we figured it was time to bring the experience a bit closer to home. This week's survey asked how YOUR account balance performed (though we didn't ask for age).

SURVEY SAYS: March Madness

March 15, 2001 - The waiting (for some) is over (for others it is just beginning)--March Madness is now upon us. Nearly 61% of this week's respondents are participating in a pool, compared with 39% that are abstaining (roughly the reverse of last year's survey results, interestingly enough). The vast majority picked Duke to win it all, with Maryland and Stanford distant seconds. Also cited were Kentucky, Iowa, Michigan State and North Carolina.

IMHO – Pocket 'Picking'

February 27, 2002 ( - There may be another Enron pension surprise coming - but taxpayers shouldn't reach for their wallets just yet, despite early reports. The online version of the February 27 Wall Street Journal cautions that 'US taxpayers could be on the hook' for losses in Enron's pension plan.

SURVEY SAYS: Bill Details

June 14, 2001 - Well, the details of a Patients' Bill of Rights may still remain to be worked out, but there isn't much doubt about the result, according to survey respondents. Nearly 60% (58%) expect employers to raise premiums -- as a result of insurance companies raising costs -- as a result of -- well, you get the point. Roughly a third (31%) expect coverage to be reduced in amount or scope as a result, while about 11% expect employers to do nothing, or be able to do nothing in the current labor environment..

SURVEY SAYS: Investment Policy Policies

May 2, 2002 ( - This week we asked readers, 'Do you have an investment policy for your defined contribution plan? And is it worth the paper it's printed on in terms of guidance?'

SURVEY SAYS: Web Site Results

January 11, 2001 - It doesn't seem to matter how much time you spend on the Web - the reader-respondents to yesterday's survey contributed a few sites that we hadn't stumbled across (yet). The diversity of readers and workers made tabulation a bit of a challenge - but we were gratified to find a popular response, and we're sure Dave Baker will be similarly gratified at the well-deserved frequency of citation of his site. Others frequently cited included (employee benefits research institute), (society of human resource management), and .

SURVEY SAYS: Cell Phones

May 10, 2001 - Yesterday we tried to gain a bit of insight into readers cell phone usage, particularly during that all-important commute. Respondents were nearly evenly divided in their habits, with slightly more than 46% eschewing the use of mobile phones for anything but emergencies. Of the remaining 54%, roughly 55% did so for personal business, 20% did so for work, and 25% did a bit of both.


August 9, 2001 - With two competing versions of a patients bill of rights waiting for Congress to return from the August recess, this week we asked what you thought of allowing patients to "opt out" of the right to sue their HMO --ostensibly with the benefit of a lower premium. Our readers were split almost down the middle on the subject, though 54% thought that we ought to consider alternatives to the mandatory coverage.