Is Alicia Munnell a 401k Fan or Not?

She appears to find amount of savings comparable between the two, but then ...

Why a hyper-focus on participant outcomes is more important than ever.Why a hyper-focus on participant outcomes is more important than ever.

At this point, we’ve lost track.

The director of indispensable Center for Retirement Research at Boston College seemed to throw shade at a DC’s ability to match DB replacement rates, until she didn’t. But her latest issue brief goes (once again) the other way. Our necks are getting sore.

It would appear she finds the amount of savings comparable between the two; the amount of income each provides, not so much.

“The findings …show that overall participation in employer plans has declined and that total wealth from retirement plans can at best be characterized as ‘flat’ over the 1992 to 2010 period,” she and her colleagues write.

The period they chose to analyze is important. They claim 1992 as the date defined benefit plans dominated and 2010 as the date defined contribution plans dominated. Throw in the fact that 2013 was the first year more 401k assets left plans than entered, and it quickly gets confusing.

Which is why descriptions of successful participant outcomes are more important than ever. We’re not talking anecdotal one-offs. We want, and have called for, summaries of the methodologies you use to ensure employees in 401k plans on which you advise achieve the affordable quality of life of which they’ve dreamed.

We’ve been hit over the head (figuratively) with great advisor submissions, which we’ll feature online, in print and in our e-newsletters beginning this month.

But we’re greedy—in this case not a bad thing—and want more.

We’re not asking to give away the farm or proprietary secrets, rather an overview on what makes you so good at achieving successful outcomes for the employees in 401k plans on which you advise, which of course is (or should be) the reason you’re in business.

It’s time to see if a 30+ year experiment with defined contribution plans is really working. Please send submissions directly to 401(k) Specialist Editor-in-Chief John Sullivan at 401(k) practices, RIAs, broker-dealers, products manufacturers, asset managers and others are welcome to submit on behalf of their advisors. Please ensure submissions are between 400 and 800 words and devoid of blatant marketing and promotional language.

We’ll celebrate the best, and advance critically important concepts in the process.

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