Fidelity finds millions of ‘unengaged’ 401(k) account holdersNews added by Benefits Pro on May 21, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Lisa Barron

There’s more disquieting news today for the DIY crowd.

Nearly two-thirds, 63 percent, of American workers choose the do-it-yourself approach to managing their retirement savings but they aren’t paying much attention to their accounts, according to a study by Fidelity Investments.

A data analysis of 13 million participants in Fidelity Investments 401(k) plans across the country found that about half of them, 54 percent, are what Fidelity calls “unengaged.”

That means that over the past two years they have not changed funds, asked for input from a Fidelity agent, utilized online tools or shifted how their investments are allocated, explained Fidelity Investments Vice President Jeanne Thompson.

People who do not have “the will, the skill or the time to manage their retirement investments might benefit more if they had professional management,” she said.

“You have to turn your 401(k) into a retirement paycheck and small changes and keeping tabs on it can make a big difference in the long run.”

Thompson also noted that an increasing number of companies that offer Fidelity 401(k)s include the option to personalize them through managed accounts.

If a worker’s company does not offer that option, Thompson suggested they visit a local branch of the 401(k) provider or call a phone representative to discuss the optimal personalized investment strategy.

The data also showed that 21 percent of workers are not saving enough for retirement to take advantage of the company math.

“They are leaving some free money on the table,” Thompson said. “At least save up to the match. It’s part of your retirement paycheck.”

Earlier this month, Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America said its studies found that although four in 10 employees identify themselves as DIYers when it comes to making financial decisions, they are falling significantly behind on prioritizing and meeting key financial goals.

The second annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study found that this is especially true for millennials.

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