The Social Security Administration has begun mailing retirement benefit statements to all working Americans - an event that is bound to unnerve individuals ill-prepared for retirement and create tremendous sales opportunities for mutual funds, according to industry executives.

Fund companies are lauding the government's efforts to prompt Americans to become more active in preparing financially for their retirements. And some firms, including Strong Funds of Milwaukee, Wis., Scudder Kemper Investments of Boston and AIM Funds of Houston, Texas, are planning marketing and sales efforts around the mailings.

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