Employees can look forward to raises and new 401(k) features

Employees can look forward to raises and new 401(k) features

If you kept your job during the recession, you were considered lucky. But the daily grind didn’t always feel so fortunate, since layoffs, salary freezes, and benefit cuts left the office pretty somber.

Luckily, spring is around the corner, and employees can look forward to two perks: raises (yes, you read that right) and new 401(k) features. Here’s what you should know:

  • Show me the money! Working hard may finally pay off again. Companies are budgeting merit increases of 3.0% for 2011, up from 2.7% in 2010 and the largest jump since before the recession when increases averaged 3.5—4.0%, according to a survey by professional services company Towers Watson. Note: These are merit-based, so the best way to qualify is to far exceed your duties, and then negotiate for the raise you deserve.
  • Give me my 401(k)—with some goodies on the side. I recently blogged about how experts are worried folks’ 401(k)s won’t even come close to covering their retirement expenses. To counteract this, many 401(k) plans are now offering new features like one-on-one counseling, Internet-based help, and toll-free telephone advisors to make sure people are saving enough. Whether these services will really get people to bulk up retirement funds remains to be seen. But at this point, anything’s worth trying. Ask your HR contact if your company or 401(k) provider offers any of these extras—just asking may encourage them to look into it.

What good news are you seeing at the workplace?

401k merit raises raises retirement workers

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