Young workers, conservative traders

Contrary to the hip ads of some online-trading companies, young workers are not brashly clicking away at their mouses, day-trading stocks in their 401(k) plans, according to a recent report from Fidelity Investments.

"Even if their plans offer dozens of investment options, workers in their twenties hold fewer funds than any other workers under the age of 65," says Kathryn Hopkins, an executive vice president at Fidelity.

The report found that only half of the 20- to 29-year-olds eligible for company-sponsored retirement plans take advantage of the program. The percentage rises as workers get older - 69 percent of 30- to 39-year-olds, and 75 percent of 50- to 59-year-olds participate in company retirement plans.

Furthermore, employees in their twenties represent only 11 percent of overall plans serviced by Fidelity.

While in their twenties, "many workers are focused on paying off school loans, buying a car, or saving for a house at the expense of saving for retirement," Ms. Hopkins says. "What they need to realize is that by saving now, they can better take advantage of compounding investment growth over 30 to 40 years, which can make a monumental difference in their total savings for retirement."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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