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Plan Participants and Social Responsibility

Plan participants with lower plan balances are more likely to look at the social responsibility of an investment than those with higher balances.

| BY Kent McDill

Investors with retirement plans do take into consideration the social responsibility of the firms in which they invest.

It’s just not the most important aspect of any investment choice.

According to the Spectrem Defined Contribution Market Insights report Financial Attitudes and Concerns of Retirement Plan Participants, 47 percent of participants take into consideration the social responsibility of the companies in which they invest. Nearing 50 percent is a historically high percentage, but there are numerous other aspects which are more important to plan participants.

There are considerations greater than social responsibility. Eighty-six percent indicate the level of risk in an investment is important, while 84 percent consider the diversity of their investments to matter. Seventy-eight percent indicate the reputation of a company matters when it comes to making an investment, and 75 percent consider the past track record of an investment when deciding on what to invest in. Almost three-quarters of participants consider the tax implications of an investment.

But the 47 percent mark for socially responsible investments would be much higher if not for the older participants. Among investors over the age of 64, only 19 percent take into consideration the socially responsible attitude of a company in which they invest.

It is also true that social responsibility is more of an issue for females than it is for males. Only 39 percent of male plan participants indicate they consider the social responsibility of a company for investment, while 54 percent of females take that into consideration.

There is also an unusual dynamic in regards to the amount of participant has in their retirement account and how they feel toward socially responsible investing. While 61 percent of participants with less than $10,000 in their retirement account do consider the social responsibility of a company before making an investment, only 36 percent of those with $100,000 or more in their account take the same approach.



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.