On the eve of “401(k) Day,” Sept. 11, themed “Make Wise Choices” this year, the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council issued a statement praising the 401(k) as “an island of stability during the current economic crisis.”

David Wray, president of the council, noted that unlike many other investors, 401(k) participants have continued to save and invest for the long term, even in the face of tremendously challenging times. In fact, in the second quarter, Fidelity found that 5% of its 11.2 million accounts, or some 560,000 people, had increased their contributions, while only 3% had reduced them.

“401(k) participants have continued to be net buyers of equities during this entire period as over half of all new 401(k) contributions do to purchase stocks,” Wray said.

The Profit Sharing/401(k) Council credited plan sponsors across the country with making a concerted effort throughout the recession to quell investors’ fears and “calm the waters” through education and communication.

Due to the fact that sponsors have fewer resources at hand in the current economic environment, this year the council is making 401(k) and savings educational tools free at its special website, 401kday.org. It includes a full suite of resources that employers can use to communicate the benefits of savings and investing for retirement in an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan.

This is the 14th year that the council has celebrated 401(k) Day. This year’s major sponsors include: ADP Retirement Services, Fidelity, Principal Financial, Putnam Investments, The Hartford and Wells Fargo.

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