Would you trade pay for a higher 401(k) match?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 9:00am

As millions of Americans struggle to save enough for retirement, many workers say they are willing to accept lower pay if it means their employer will help them build a bigger nest egg.

Nearly half, or 43%, of workers said they would opt for a lower salary in exchange for a larger employer contribution to their 401(k) plan, a Fidelity Investments survey of more than 1,000 working retirement savers found.

"Employer contributions play a vital role in helping Americans reach their retirement savings goals -- these contributions represent more than 35 percent of the total contributions on average to an employee's workplace savings account," said Doug Fisher, senior vice president of workplace initiatives at Fidelity.

Fidelity noted that many working Americans are only able to save the suggested 10% to 15% of their salary with the help of their employer's contributions.

According to Fidelity's data, 79% of workplace retirement plans offer some sort of employer contribution, whether it be a 401(k) match or profit sharing.

Employers pitch in an average of $3,540 (or 4.3% of salary) into worker retirement accounts each year, according to Fidelity.

Over 10 years of saving, that match alone can grow to almost $50,000, assuming 5% annual returns.


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