Studies have shown that workers under age 35 have the lowest participation rate in 401(k) plans of any age group, and plan sponsors constantly struggle with the challenge of convincing younger employees to save for retirement. Because retirement seems so far in the future, young people tend to think of it only in abstract terms and without any urgency. I believe most participants in this age group have gone through a turbulent market over the last decade as they entered the workforce, and this has kept many of these employees from investing in their 401(k). It is hard for a young employee to visualize what their retirement is going to look like, and this has led participants to also procrastinate planning for retirement.

New research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College tested the premise that young people may be discouraged from saving for retirement because it's so distant for them. Several communication approaches were tested to see which ones could be effective in encouraging saving. Researchers theorized that combining abstract information about a secure retirement with a specific long-term savings goal could prove helpful to younger workers.

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