Defined contribution plans incorporated stronger automatedfeatures in 2015, and other changes are helping plans to evolve so that theybetter meet employee needs.

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Those are some of the findings in Aon Hewitt’s 2015 Trends &Experience in Dened Contribution Plans survey, which found thatcompanies are encouraging employees to save more—not just byautomatically enrolling them but byother steps that boost participation and contributions.

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The study found that 52 percent of companies with automaticenrollment have a default rate of 4 percent or more, up from just39 percent in 2013, and 51 percent of plans that have autoenrollment default workers’ contributions at or above the matchingfunds rate.

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But that’s not all.

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More employers are also using a back sweep to capture and enrollemployees who aren’t already participating.

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In fact, the number of employers doing so has doubled since2013, from 8 percent to 16 percent.

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In addition, the automatic contribution escalation ceiling isalso on the rise. Almost two thirds (64 percent) of employers setthe threshold at 10 percent or more.

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In 2013, this fraction was 50 percent. And 42 percent of plansprovide a dollar-for-dollar match rate—up from 25 percent in2011—also a good thing, since it helps toboost participation.

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While a 10 percent contribution rate is a vast improvement, it’snot everywhere—and it’s still not enough. Many experts say peopleshouldn’t stop at 10 percent but should go even higher, to, say, 15percent. Too many people don’t save at all, and many of those whodo have laughably (or cryably) small balances.

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In addition, lots of auto-enrolled employees stop there—atwhatever the automatic contribution is—and that’s not going to cut it,either, especially for older workers.

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While those auto-enrolled workers definitely have more than theywould if they never got around to enrolling, people who activelyenrolled themselves tended to have higher contributions andhealthier balances.

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