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Slow Change

You'd better not hold your breath waiting for retirement plan reform.

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This story appears in the July 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In January, the Bush administration proposed retirement reformspromising big changes for small business. But the sands shiftquickly in Washington these days. The administration abandoned itsretirement proposals less than a month after releasing them, citingthe need to focus on job creation. A flurry of post-Enron pensionbills are still making their way through Congress, however. Rep.John Boehner (R-OH) is cosponsoring a bill to allow employees whohave been with a business for at least three years to sell thecompany stock in their 401(k) plans. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) isalso sponsoring a retirement bill.

With all this legislative maneuvering, where are retirementplans headed? Rick Meigs, president of 401khelpcenter.com LLC, aPortland, Oregon, firm that follows trends affecting 401(k) plans,doesn't see any new retirement rules passing this year--andpossibly not until 2005. In the near term, "you're notgoing to see any radical changes," he says. "The 401(k)plan will continue to be the retirement plan of choice." Healso expects 401(k) plans to get cheaper as competition fromproviders seeking to capture the small-business market heatsup.

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