It’s now a common event to learn that yet another healthy large company has frozen its defined benefit pension plan. The most recent of which in the news was Fidelity. In many cases, these employers are beefing up other benefits such as an increased match or profit sharing contribution. But very few seem to be increasing their employee investment education programs to help them be better prepared for the increased responsibility they will be assuming for saving for retirement.
IBM, however, is stepping up to the plate to the tune of $50 million over 5 years for a financial education and coaching program for its 127,000 U.S. employees. Whether it’s because IBM wants to burnish its image among employees disgruntled about retirement plan changes, or just because it’s IBM considered to be one of this country’s best employers, it doesn’t really matter. The program will go beyond the usual financial education and will teach basic financial skills and offer one-on-one counseling. Seminars will be free to employees, spouses or domestic partners.
Will this be the new benchmark?