NuStar Energy. The NuStar Thrift Plan matches employee 401(k) contributions dollar-for-dollar, up to 6 percent of pay. But the retirement benefits go far beyond that. The company also provides a traditional pension. "We want our employees to feel like if they come to work every day and do a good job, their financial future will be taken care of," says chief executive Curt Anastasio. "It allows them to really focus on their work." Human resources consulting firm Hewitt Associates found that an employee with 30 years of service earning $100,000 is likely to be able to replace 117 percent of his or her working income upon retirement at age 65 if he or she saves 6 percent of pay in the 401(k), gets the full 401(k) match, and claims Social Security at age 67. Mike Burgett, 54, a senior vice president of strategic sourcing at the company who plans to retire within 10 years, says he isn't worried about financial security in retirement. "There is a lot of security and comfort in the notion that we have a defined benefit plan," Burgett says. He also saves enough in the 401(k) plan to get the full 6 percent match. "I can focus on what I need to do every day. I'm not distracted by the future," he says. "Retirees here are prepared to leave."
Red River Credit Union. This credit union in Texarkana, Texas, doesn't need to automatically enroll workers to get them to participate in the 401(k) plan. Every current employee over age 21 voluntarily signed up once they heard about the generous match coupled with the usual tax benefits of 401(k) participation. "They are educating employees about how important it is to set aside money for retirement," says Deborah Hall-Pope, chief human resources and organizational services officer for ASCD, an education nonprofit, of Red River Credit Union. "It's noteworthy to help people see the value of what could happen in the future when they are struggling with the here and now." Red River Credit Union matches employee retirement contributions dollar-for-dollar, up to 5 percent of pay, then contributes 50 cents for each dollar saved on the next 5 percent of pay. Employees who save 10 percent of their pay in the 401(k) plan can get a match equal to 7.5 percent of their salary. On top of that, there is an additional discretionary profit-sharing match, which averages 3 percent annually. "When people hear about the 401(k), their ears perk up," says Karen Rhodes, the human resources director at Red River Credit Union. "We encourage them to be greedy when it comes to the 401(k)."