Reporter Kyle Oppenhuizen wrote about how businesses are helping their employees save for retirement in last week’s Business Record. Here are some extra facts and tidbits we couldn’t squeeze into that article. 

LOCAL employers fare well

If Merit Resources Inc.’s database is any indication, Central Iowa employers are doing their part to help their workers. Joel Duncan, Merit’s president and CEO, said about 85 percent of all his company’s clients have adopted the Merit-sponsored 401(k) plan. That participation rate is drastically higher than the national average; only 16 percent of small businesses (defined as having fewer than 100 employees) have a 401(k) plan. About 50 percent of Merit’s 400-plus clients are located in Central Iowa. “While our universe is a small sampling, it demonstrates that there is a material variance in the number of Central Iowa small businesses sponsoring a 401(k) plan versus the national averages,” Duncan said.

The power of the employer match:

Having an employer match increases the participation rate in a company’s retirement plan by almost 15 percent, according to Principal Financial Group Inc.

Ease into retirement

The idea of phased retirement, meaning people keep working but at reduced hours, was brought up a couple of times. Monica Friedman, 
vice president of human resources 
at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., said last month that Nationwide has gotten requests from baby boomers who want stay at work but also want some of the freedom and flexibility 
that retirement offers.

Brian Hood, co-founder and principal of Legacy Financial Group, advocates that businesses capitalize on the knowledge of their older workers.

“If I was an HR person and looking at the drain of skills that we see leaving the workforce right now as our baby boomers start walking out the door, I would be racking my brain to try to figure out how can I meet these people in the middle and find some kind of compromise that we can still keep access to this talent but start to give them back their lives to do 
with what they want,” he said.