U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 20 mins

Which Companies Have the Best 401(k) Matching?

Javier Simon, CEPF®
401(k) matches can give your savings a major boost

Generous company 401(k) matches are great. But if your retirement plan offers few investment options or has high fees, even the best 401(k) match may leave your retirement savings coming up short. That’s why it’s important to have an excellent plan as well as a high company match percentage.

To give you a sense of what’s possible, SmartAsset conducted an in-depth study of companies across different sectors such as finance, tech and energy. If your 401(k) match and plan seem minor league in comparison to the ones profiled here, consider working with a financial advisor, who can help you optimize your investment returns.

We chose these plans based on numerous factors such as company match frameworks, total assets under management (AUM) and additional benefits such as access to a bonus pension plan or low fees. The information came from sources such as BrightScope, a financial information and technology company that analyzes 401(k) plans, and Employee Benefit News (EBN). Read on for a sampling of the best company 401(k) matches and plans currently out there, arranged by average account balance, starting with the largest.

Philip Morris International 

  • Average account balance: $640,000
  • 401(k) match: first 5% plus 7% bonus
  • Total participants: 460
  • Net plan assets: $292 million

With its very large average 401(k) account balance, the tobacco giant aims to smoke out the competition. BrightScope gave the Philip Morris International Deferred Profit Sharing Plan a score of 92 out of 100. This made it the top plan in its peer group. Currently, the 401(k) component features a match on the first 5% of employee contributions. Plus, the company throws in a bonus 7% match on eligible compensation.

Employees can invest in a variety of stock and index funds. The plan, though, doesn’t currently offer bond funds, according to a recent EBN study. Still, BrightScope highlighted the plan for having among the lowest fees in its study and a “great” participation rate.

Chevron 

  • Average account balance: $550,000
  • 401(k) match: 4% to 8% of regular pay
  • Total participants: 37,000
  • Net plan assets: $20.00 billion

Chevron employees are fully vested in their 401(k) plans – traditional or Roth 401(k) – the moment they start working. This means all the money in their plans, including contributions made by Chevron, is theirs. What’s more, to encourage participation, matching contributions increase, percentage-wise, as employees up their contributions.

Specifically, if you contribute 1% of regular pay to the plan, the company will make a contribution equal to 4% of your regular pay. If you contribute at least 2%, that match rises to 8% of regular pay. Chevron allows you to contribute up to 75% of regular pay as combined basic and supplemental contributions in any one pay period. As with all defined contribution plans, though, the government sets annual contribution limits. Other regulations may also prohibit you from contributing up to that limit based on how your employer’s plan and workforce is structured.

BrightScope gave Chevron a score of 90/100 and the company stands out as the highest-rated plan in its peer group. The research firm also highlighted it for having low fees.

ExxonMobil Corporation

  • Average account balance: $500,000
  • 401(k) match: 7% of regular pay when you contribute at least 6%.
  • Total participants: 43,000
  • Net plan assets: $20.70 billion

ExxonMobil can trace its roots back to 1866 when it was known as the Vacuum Oil Company. Today, it remains one of the few companies in the country that still offers a pension plan on top of a 401(k) plan to eligible employees.

Pension plans fall under the umbrella of defined benefit (DB) plans. This means the employer sets money aside for the employee and invests those funds in order to provide a set or defined level of income in retirement, assuming the plan doesn’t collapse. But ExxonMobil seems in good shape as it plans to energize its U.S. pension plan with $1 billion by the end of 2019.

Its 401(k) program also features distinct benefits. According to GlassDoor, the firm matches 7% of regular pay when you contribute at least 6%. Additionally, it’s in the top 15% of all plans that BrightScope studied. With a score of 88/100 for overall plan health, ExxonMobil also has among the lowest fees, according to BrightScope.

The Boeing Company 

  • Average account balance: $300,000
  • 401(k) match: 75% of the first 8% of an employee’s contribution
  • Total participants: 200,000
  • Net plan assets: $60.30 billion

With more than $60 billion in net plan assets, The Boeing Company 401(k) plan stands out as one of the largest plans in the country. And the corporation takes advantage of that size. Sponsors of large plans typically have the added benefit of being able to negotiate better fees and services from their providers. These arrangements may free up some costs that allow the plan to directly invest in its own employees retirement readiness.

Boeing currently matches 75% of the first 8% of an employee’s contribution. It caps employee contributions at 30% of salaries. It also makes a discretionary contribution that typically extends from 3% to 5% of pay per year based on the age of the employee.

In fact, BrightScope praised Boeing for having a “near perfect retirement plan model.”  The research firm notes that the corporation takes advantage of auto enrollment, immediate vesting and a diversified investment menu of low-cost collective investment funds.

Amgen Inc.

  • Average account balance: $300,000
  • 401(k) match: 5% of employee pay (regardless of employee participation)
  • Total participants: 17,000
  • Net plan assets: $5.09 billion

Amegen, a biotech firm aiming to cure diseases, offers a very healthy 401(k) plan to its employees. First off, the company makes a core contribution worth 5% of employee pay regardless of employee participation.

In addition, the firm automatically enrolls eligible employees into the plan and makes them 100% vested. This means all money in the plan, including employer contributions, belongs to the employees as long as they’re in the plan. Employees also have more than two dozen investment options including low-cost index funds with which to build their 401(k) portfolios.

Giving Amgen a 90/100 score, BrightScope rated the company’s plan participation rate and generosity as “great.”

401(k) plans can offer company matches and much more

Microsoft 

  • Average account balance: $210,000
  • 401(k) match: 50% of pay, up to a maximum of $9,000
  • Total participants: 100,000
  • Net plan assets: $20.10 billion

According to a recent EBN study, Microsoft delivers a robust 401(k) plan that features a match equal to 50% of pay, up to a maximum of $9,000. Employees can invest in either a traditional 401(k) or a Roth 401(k).

Brightscope gave the plan, which offers more than 20 investment options, including funds from leading firms like Vanguard and BlackRock, an 89/100 score. GlassDoor awarded it a 4.5 out of 5 rating. One user referred to it as a “great 401(k) plan” that proved “very helpful” during retirement.

Verizon 

  • Average account balance: $160,000
  • 401(k) match: First 6% of eligible pay
  • Total participants: 160,000
  • Net plan assets: $24 billion

The telecom giant provides a 401(k) plan to eligible employees with a 100% dollar-for-dollar match up to the first 6% of eligible pay deferred, according to recent EBN analysis. In addition, Verizon provides an annual profit-sharing award worth up to 3% of eligible play. Plus, the company allows employees to diversify their 401(k) portfolios with institutional investment funds from the in-house Verizon Investment Management Corp.

The Ultimate Software Group, Inc.

  • Average account balance: $85,000
  • 401(k) match: 45% of employee contributions (capped by IRS employee contribution limit)
  • Total participants: 4,200
  • Net plan assets: $325,000,000

According to its website, Ultimate Software matches 45% of employee contributions dollar-per-dollar. Employees can build their portfolios with more than 50 investment options. Plus, the firm offers an array of other benefits outside the 401(k) plan. This includes 100% employer-paid health insurance, tuition reimbursement and adoption financial assistance.

The plan earned a score of 80/100 from BrightScope.

Fidelity National Financial Group

  • Average account balance: $74,000
  • 401(k) match: Up to  7% of contributions per pay period
  • Total participants: 30,000
  • Net plan assets: $1.84 billion

Part of the Fidelity National Financial Group’s business involves advising some of the largest retirement plans in the country. So it’s no surprise that it offers a generous plan to its own employees. Fidelity matches employee contributions dollar for dollar up to 7% per pay period.

In addition, the firm built its investment menu with more than 200 proprietary mutual funds and options from other firms. BrightScope ranked the firm among the top 15% when it comes to total plan costs and praised the firm for having among the lowest fees in its study.

A healthy 401(k) match with a great company match can help you retire comfortably.

Retirement Savings Tips 

  • Get all of your company match. If your company offers a 401(k) match, contribute as much as you need to in order to get all of it. It’s free money! To visualize how your savings will grow, use our retirement calculator.
  • If you’re not sure which investment options you should use to build your 401(k) portfolio, use our asset-allocation calculator. It gives you examples of different investment mixes that may be right for you based on your risk tolerance.
  • Got lots of retirement accounts from different jobs? A financial advisor can help you make an overall investing plan. To find the right advisor for you, use our SmartAsset five-minute matching tool. It links you with up to three pros in your area.

The post Which Companies Have the Best 401(k) Matching? appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.