The Future of Retirement Savings: 401(k) Plans and New Legislation for Businesses

Published by Gabe Fransen on

Gabe Fransen | September 25, 2023

Retirement planning has always been a significant concern for individuals, but in recent years, the focus has also shifted towards employers playing a pivotal role in ensuring their employees’ financial security during retirement. One of the most popular retirement savings vehicles in the United States is the 401(k) plan. In response to the growing concerns about social security and individuals retirement savings, there has been a push for businesses to adopt 401(k) plans, and new legislation has been introduced to facilitate this shift. Let’s explore the importance of 401(k) plans and the recent legislation aimed at encouraging businesses to offer these plans to their employees.

401(k) plans have become an integral part of retirement planning for millions of Americans. They offer several key benefits:

  1. Tax Advantages: Contributions to a traditional 401(k) plan are made with pre-tax dollars, which can significantly reduce an employee’s taxable income. This tax deferral allows investments to grow over time, compounding the savings.
  2. Employer Matching: Many employers offer a 401(k) match, which is essentially free money for employees. This match can vary but often incentivizes workers to save more for retirement.
  3. Investment Options: 401(k) plans typically provide a range of investment options, allowing participants to tailor their portfolio to their risk tolerance and financial goals.
  4. Portability: When employees change jobs, they can roll over their 401(k) funds into a new employer’s plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), ensuring that they continue to save for retirement without disruption.
  5. Retirement Security: With Social Security facing uncertainties, 401(k) plans provide an additional layer of financial security in retirement.

Recognizing the importance of 401(k) plans in securing the retirement future of Americans, SECURE Act 2.0 has been introduced to encourage more businesses to offer these plans to their employees. The key aspects of this legislation include:

  1. Automatic Enrollment: The legislation encourages businesses to implement automatic enrollment in their 401(k) plans. This means that employees would be enrolled in the plan by default and would have to actively opt-out if they do not wish to participate. Automatic enrollment has been shown to significantly increase participation rates.
  2. Small Business Tax Credits: To alleviate some of the financial burdens on small businesses, the legislation offers tax credits to employers who start a new 401(k) plan. These credits can offset the initial setup costs, making it more attractive for smaller companies to provide retirement benefits.
  3. Multiple Employer Plans (MEPs)/Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs): The legislation promotes the use of Multiple Employer Plans or Pooled Employer Plans, allowing multiple small businesses to join forces and offer a single retirement plan. This shared approach can reduce administrative costs and simplify the management of retirement benefits for employers.
  4. Expanded Access for Part-Time Workers: The legislation expands eligibility for part-time workers, ensuring that more employees have the opportunity to participate in 401(k) plans.
  5. Enhanced Disclosures: Employers are required to provide clearer and more comprehensive disclosures about the fees and expenses associated with their 401(k) plans. This transparency helps employees make informed decisions about their investments.

Benefits for Employers and Employees

The new legislation benefits both employers and employees in several ways:

  1. Attracting and Retaining Talent: Offering a 401(k) plan can be a competitive advantage for businesses, helping them attract and retain top talent. Employees often value retirement benefits when considering job opportunities.
  2. Tax Benefits: Employers can take advantage of tax deductions for contributions made to their employees’ 401(k) accounts.
  3. Financial Security: By providing employees with a retirement savings vehicle, employers contribute to their long-term financial security, which can reduce stress and increase overall well-being among their workforce.
  4. Reduced Turnover: Employees who are financially secure in retirement are less likely to retire later than desired, reducing turnover and the associated costs of hiring and training new employees.


The new legislation encouraging businesses to adopt 401(k) plans is a positive step towards addressing the retirement concerns in the United States today. These plans offer tax advantages, employer matches, and a range of investment options, making them a valuable tool for retirement savings. By promoting automatic enrollment, tax credits, and other incentives, the government aims to expand access to these plans, ensuring that more Americans have the opportunity to secure their financial future. As employers and employees alike recognize the importance of retirement planning, 401(k) plans are poised to play a central role in shaping a more financially secure retirement landscape for all.

H.R.2954 – Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 –