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As an initiative to save Social Security, the Bush administration has repeatedly proposed handing over the nation’s retirement savings to workers to manage through the creation of individual accounts. But if the President examined the record on employee management of 401(k)s, he might want to reconsider.

The fact is many employees simply don’t seem to want the job of providing for their old age. Despite efforts by (k) plan sponsors to fortify worker education and advice, there’s a mounting realization that companies won’t reach those employees who are too busy, too intimidated or just too lazy to take advantage of beefed-up offerings. “The shortcoming of both education and advice is getting those who need help the most to utilize it,” says Ted Benna, president of the 401(k) Association and designer of the first 401(k) plan back in the early 1980s.

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