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Out of Reach

Could proposed 401(k) overhauls put small-business owners in over their heads?

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This story appears in the July 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's not as if small-business owners were enthusiastic about starting 401(k) plans in the first place. Add the potential for lawsuits and the whiff of scandal, and it begins to sound as pleasant as a root canal.

The reforms being proposed in Congress in response to the Enron debacle-in which company employees lost an estimated $1 billion worth of retirement funds invested in Enron stock-aren't likely to make things any easier for entrepreneurs, who could face increased liability and potentially higher costs associated with 401(k) plans. Current House and Senate bills amending the Employee Retirement Income Security Act have been fashioned from the deluge of pension reform proposals that rained down on congressional desks post-Enron.

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