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Socially Responsible Plan Participants

Some DC participants believe corporations claiming social responsibility are doing so just for good public relations.

| BY Kent McDill

Defined contribution plans are all about preparing financially for retirement. However, some DC plan participants have other things on their mind as well.

According to Spectrem’s new report Financial Attitudes and Concerns of DC Participants, almost half of all DC plan participants consider the social responsibility of an investment when making investment selections for their DC plans. While that is well below other considerations (level of risk and diversity are the top two considerations), social responsibility is still a consideration for some plan participants.

Female plan participants are more interested in the social responsibility of an investment than males. Fifty-four percent of women say social responsibility matters, while only 39 percent of males do so.

Interestingly, the more a participant has in his retirement account, the less he is interested in social responsibility. While 61 percent of DC participants with less than $10,000 in their plan balance consider social responsibility, only 36 percent of DC participates with more than $100,000 in their plans give any thought to the social responsibility of their investments.

(To read the complete report Financial Attitudes and Concerns of DC Participants, click here.)  

Age is not a factor in the consideration of social responsibility, until a participant reaches the age of 65. Only 19 percent of the oldest participants consider social responsibility in their plan investments, while other age groups show approximately 50 percent of participates have an interest.

The reasons an investor would have for paying attention to social responsibility are many, including a desire to improve the world for their children, or wanting to provide funds towards positive changes in the environment or society. But there are an equal number of reasons why an investor would not care about the social responsibility of an investment.

For instance, 57 percent of DC plan participants say their investments are purely financial in nature, with no consideration for what is done with the funds invested other than increasing portfolios. Thirty-nine percent believe corporations claim to be socially responsible just as a public relations maneuver, while 31 percent straight out say they have never given much thought to socially responsibility investment choices. Four percent said they do not believe social responsibility is a corporate responsibility.

About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.