Industry Voices

God Vest Ye Fully Enron Men

December 24, 2002 ( - "Anonymous" sources at the Portland Chapter of the Western Pension and Benefits Conference have contributed a little holiday "spirit" for all of us to share.

Survey Says: Anthrax Anxieties

Whatever the source, the nation is clearly struggling with how best to deal with the apparent use of the mail to transport anthrax (and goodness knows what else). This week we asked readers, "Has your firm undertaken any new or special handling procedures for your mail? Are YOU treating it any differently?"

SURVEY SAYS: Memorial Day Weekend

May 24, 2001 - This week we asked about YOUR plans for the Memorial Day weekend -- specifically how long you would be manning your "post." Not surprisingly given the dedication of our readers, the top answer was (d) covering for those departing early, cited by more than 36% of our survey respondents. On the other hand, the second most popular answer was (a) out of here by Thursday, noted by roughly 32% (and which might have been even more popular had we included the out-of-office bouncebacks we received). Nearly 13% will be gone by noon Friday (with a respectable number at least alluding to the desire to first check out the Friday Files), while the remaining 19% will be ducking out --once the boss has made his/her move.

Survey Says: Participant Inertia

August 23, 2001 - Even the most casual study of participant behavior over the past thirty years suggests that participants, for the most part, "set it and forget it" when it comes to making investment decisions.

Survey Says: Money Saving Suggestions

Price chopper, the cover story in the July issue of PLAN SPONSOR offers insights into a variety of ways that plan sponsors can --and have-- benefited participants and the company's bottom line by paying attention to : the bottom line.

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.