Today is 401(k) Day, an annual celebration originally launched by the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America designed to celebrate the importance of employer-sponsored 401(k) plans.

As in previous years, the 2010 401(k) Day festivities include educational and communications campaigns print/online materials, interactive games, savings calculators and other components (available in English and Spanish) employers can use to help workers learn more about the benefits of saving for retirement in a 401(k) plan.

This year, PSCA has broken the day into three themes, to target specific groups of employees who either aren’t saving at all or aren’t saving enough:

* “On the Winding Road to Retirement ... Let Your 401(k) Plan Help Get You There,” is aimed at younger workers to get them to enroll in their company's 401(k) plan or increase their contribution, and learn about available investment options.

* “Map the Course to Your Destination ... Steer Your Retirement Account to Get You There,” targets Gen Xers to make sure their 401(k) investments are on target, teach them about shifting their asset mix to prepare for “detours” on their journey toward retirement. This campaign encourages Generation X workers to:

* “Maintain Your 401(k) ... Proper Care of Your Retirement Account Will Get You There,” goes after baby boomers, encouraging them to check their account balance frequently, work with a financial advisor to make sure they’re prepared to reach their “retirement destination.”

All sound themes, of course. And all the clever references to roads and journeys and such are fun. But does a clever campaign hide the fact that the 401(k) doesn’t exactly scream "festive!" these days?

Employer matching contributions — frozen or reduced last year during the thick of the recession — have been slow to be reinstated. Retirement savings knowledge and plan participant behavior are pretty embarrassing, to put it mildly. Overall, workplace retirement benefits have dropped by double-digits over the last decade, even before the recession took hold. And just 16% of Americans now are “very confident” they’ll have a secure retirement.

Doesn’t exactly inspire celebration.

Maybe things will be more feisty, if not festive, at next week’s Retirement USA event, aimed at revealing, rallying and rising up against America’s retirement income deficit. The event, scheduled for Sept. 15 in Washington, D.C., will kick-off “Wake Up, Washington!” Month, a speak-out on retirement security. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m more fired up about this than I am about 401(k) Day. What about you? Is your company celebrating 401(k) Day? Is it worth it? Hit the comments.

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