Managing Reward Systems

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Managing Reward Systems

Week 12 Homework

Can you Afford to Retire?


In this assignment, you will learn more about the 401K retirement plan, which is the most popular type of plan offered by employers today.


First, you need to watch the video “Can you Afford to Retire?” produced by PBS in 2006. Since 2006, the amount of money employees save for retirement has gotten worse, not better. Many companies have started implementing more programs to encourage employees to participate effectively in the 401K plan, but the retirement savings themselves has not improved for employees. In short, the issues described in 2006 are still very much true today.


You can skip the introduction and second chapter; start at the third chapter titled “Save Yourself”, which starts at 24:40, and continue watching through the beginning of the fourth chapter (until all questions are answered; about 12 minutes into chapter 4).


Based on the video, answer the following 8 questions. They are generally listed in the order they are discussed in the video, but some questions are discussed by multiple people.


1. What can HR managers (or benefits managers) do to help employees participate in, and manage their, 401K plans?



2. What are some of the reasons why so many employees do not save enough money through the 401K plan, to retire comfortably?


3. What are some of the factors that contribute to individuals having enough money in their 401K plans in order to retire comfortably (that is, what makes this plan more successful for some)?


4. What percent of employee’s pay should be put into the 401K plan each year (the employee and employer combined contribution) and for how many years, in order for an individual to have enough money for retirement? (A range is provided by a couple of experts in the video)


5. How did 401K plans come about (what is the history behind the introduction of these plans as a type of retirement plan)?



6. Why did companies embrace 401K plans so enthusiastically?


7. What reforms to 401K plans does David Wray suggest in order to make them less risky for employees?



8. Finally, based on what you have learned in this video, what are two key “takeaways” that have implications for you personally and/or for an HR Manager? Be specific about how something you learned will influence the way you think about retirement savings throughout your adult life and/or once you are an HR manager.


When you are finished, save your document and upload it into the Week 12 Homework Assignment folder in CANVAS.

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