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What do you think about a company that does not match 401 k. And only has ESOP? Is it worth to move to a new company? When mine matches 100% and I'm fully vested? Thank you.

Mar 16, 2013 by Lori in  |  Flag
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That is a very difficult question to answer being that making choices about a new perspective employer can encompass other important factors. However, according to an article by CNN in December, 2012, only about 7% of employers do not offer a match. That would leave you with approximately the other 93% of companies that do. You may want to check with your advisor to help create some scenarios where they can figure out at what level match by a new prospective employer would it make sense to move on.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Mar 16, 2013 from Newport Beach, CA

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Jason Hull Level 20

Hi Lori--

I think that you have to look at the totality of your compensation package (health care, total pay, bonuses, ESOP valuation, vacation, etc.) as well as the type of work that you would be doing compared to what you are currently doing. 401k matching is one relatively small piece of the overall picture. I know that retirement planning is important, but if you're currently working in a situation where you are at the risk of having a heart attack or going postal on your incompetent co-workers on an hourly basis, then perhaps the compensation of the new job isn't nearly as important as the life satisfaction improvements you'd get from changing jobs. I had a highly compensated job where I was miserable and had a horrible daily commute, and after a year and a half there (which probably took five years off of my life because of the stress), I quit. The pay wasn't worth all of the other tolls that I was having to pay in order to earn that paycheck.

If you want to compare the ESOP valuation versus what you're getting in your 401k, you should be able to speak with the plan administrators for the ESOP to determine how they're valuing the package, your liquidity options, ISOs, NQSOs, etc. Plan your life as if the ESOP has zero value, and, that way, everything is upside for you if it does wind up having value.

You can always contribute to an IRA as well, which should help soften the blow of some of the loss of tax deferral in your retirement accounts.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Mar 18, 2013 from Fort Worth, TX

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Lori, if you can find a job that, overall, is more fulfilling and has a total compensation package that is better, then you should consider it. Don’t switch plans just because they only offer an ESOP.

I think you want to hear that your company stinks because it does not offer a 401(k), and maybe they do. But there are a variety of reasons, only one of which is cost, that companies will not offer a 401(k)

Comment   |  Flag   |  Mar 18, 2013 from Delray Beach, FL

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Your employer may view it that they're actually generously giving you 2 plans. ESOPs aren't bad, but it does depend on the strength of the company and its leadership, and the value when you retire. I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, because many people don't have access to a 401k or a retirement plan at all! These plans were built to attract and retain employees and ESOPs are built to make sure employees are interested in continuing to grow the value of the business. Like others have said, if this is a deal breaker for you and there's another job that has a better comp/benefits package and is more fulfilling, you should always consider that.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Mar 20, 2013 from Alexandria, VA

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