How good is your company's 401(k)?
Bloomberg ranked the 401(k) plans of the top 50 companies in the S&P 500 based on the generosity of their plans for a new hire using the criteria below.
How good is your company's 401(k)?
Let's review your plan so you can compare it to what a new hire would receive at the companies below:
of your contributions up to
of your pay
after you start working there,
and makes matching
The company offers
in additional contributions,
and matches with
Your matching contributions vest
How good is your 401(k)?
401(k) plans have replaced pensions as the way most companies help employees save for retirement. Workers make before-tax contributions and pile up tax-deferred cash, and employers often match part of what they put in. But some plans are more generous than
This graphic lets you score your company's 401(k) plan so you can compare it to those offered by the top corporations in the S&P 500. Start by telling us some details about your
You work at
the law allows you to contribute up to
which means you could put in
This is the most important measure of how generous a plan is. Some companies match a percentage of workers' pay while others contribute a dollar amount.
matches up to a
will match is
will match is
Some companies require employees to wait a year or more before they're eligible for a match, which reduces savings. Your
match starts in
Match Payment Frequency:
Some companies pay their match multiple times throughout the year, which means employees can earn more investment income on their savings.
Besides the match, some companies give more through profit sharing and other contributions.
Choice of Funds:
You can increase your savings if you have a choice of low-cost index funds, which don't have high management fees.
Some companies require employees to invest their matching contributions in company stock initially.
Companies can require employees to forfeit their matching contributions if they leave before a certain number of years.
fully vests matching funds
Some companies make it easy to start saving for retirement by automatically enrolling new hires unless they opt out.
Bloomberg ranked the 401(k) plans of the 50 largest companies in the S&P 500, based on market capitalization, as of December 1, 2014. The companies can be sorted in three different ways: in ranked order by Score, alphabetically by Company, and by Industry sector. Under Industry, the nine sectors are ranked in order of the average scores of their companies and within the sector by ranked score.
Each company was given a score based on its 2014 filing with the U.S. Department of Labor for the 2013 plan year, the most recent year for which data were complete.
The score was based on eight criteria, which were weighted: maximum potential company match (50%); additional company profit-sharing or retirement contribution (15%); years to vest (15%); investment offering of stock, bond, or international index funds (10%); and automatic enrollment (10%). If more than one company receives the same score, they are tied at the same rank and the next rank resumes after counting all numbers in the gap. If more than one company receives the same score, they are listed as tied at the same rank in alphabetical order.
Deductions from the score were made for companies that
paid their company match at or after year-end (-3%)
required employees to work at least one year before receiving the company match (-3%)
required matching funds to be used initially to purchase company stock (-3%).
401(k) Benefits for New Hire
The ranking considered the 401(k) benefits that a new, nonunion, and salaried hire would generally receive. For three companies--Gilead Sciences, Google, and Qualcomm--we calculated the match percentage because their plans used a dollar amount instead. For Goldman Sachs, we also calculated the match percentage, to account for the minimum $6,000 match they paid employees. To calculate the matches for these four companies, we used their company 401(k) criteria for a new hire earning $51,000--which is the median U.S. salary according to the U.S. Department of Labor--and an average U.S. employee contribution of 6%. For Apple, which bases its match on length of service, we also used criteria for a new hire.
The ranking excluded data from pension plans. Four companies were excluded from the top 50 because they couldn't be ranked. Two -- Intel and Procter & Gamble -- didn't offer a match, yet contributed in other ways to the 401(k) plan. The other two -- AbbVie and Berkshire Hathaway -- had different plans at multiple subsidiaries or didn't provide enough data in the filings.
Bloomberg, firms' Form 5500 from U.S. Department of Labor, companies
Reporting and research: Margaret Collins and Bloomberg Rankings
Design and development: Ekene Ijeoma