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Executive Summary

Taking up employment from a company calls for a careful analysis of a number of factors. The retirements options offered by a company is one such significant factor that when needs to analyse before taking up employment. This is especially very significant when one is faced with two or three employment opportunities. In such a situation one is required to have the knowledge of analysing a company's investment options as this will help in the determination of how good a company's retirement options are and thus pick the best option.

In reference to the above objective, in this project an attempt is made to analyse and determine if two companies, AIG and Amica Mutual Insurance, have good retirement investment options for their employees. Many companies just scheme retirement options which are just enough to satisfy the authorities and avoid being sued. Such schemes are just good enough but are not great. In order to determine whether the two above companies have great retirement options some general information about the companies' 401k options are evaluated together with a few of their investment options. A brief overview of each of the company's retirement investment option is highlighted to bring out a clear understanding of the retirement option.

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Generally a good retirement investment option is evaluated by gauging its performance. The knowledge to determine the performance of a retirement option is vital in the determination of a good retirement investment. Lack of such knowledge makes it hard for employees to choose a good retirement option.

This project will determine if good retirement offerings are offered by AIG and Amica Mutual Insurance. An analysis is made based on information collected about the two companies which include general information about the employer's plan, investment options provided and their relative expense ratios, performance rating, and overall performance against an index. Contributions made from the employees and the employers sum up to the amount that is totalled for each retirement account year. The presence of a wide variety of options makes it possible for one to spread out risks thus lessening losses in case of an occurrence unforeseen calamity. Possessing a good understanding of a company's retirement options places one in a position of making the correct decisions which will ensure that one will be settled with financial peace of mind at the old age. This knowledge is therefore extremely significant as insufficient possession of the knowledge may likely lead to potential mistakes which are likely to last and affect one in a life time.

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The analysis of the retirement options for the companies was carried out by selecting fund options (nine of them) individually from the two companies and evaluation carried out using four criteria.

The first criterion used was based on what the plan is about: general information about the plan including such aspects as contributions made by the employers and the employees, the investment options and the vesting period. The second criterion was the performance rating. In this criterion the Morning rating guide was applied. The Morning rating guide ranks fund options and on a scale running from 1 to 5 with 1 being the worst and 5 the best. Another criterion used was the expense ratio. For the verification of the ratio CNN money, yahoo finance and Morningstar were used. The forth criterion used was comparing all the chosen funds against a benchmark for the YTD, 3 year, 5 year and 10 year performance where it was applicable. These four criteria were used in the evaluation of the quality of the company's retirement offerings.

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General Information

Amica Mutual Insurance

Amica Mutual insurance offers its employees two plans; savings plan and retirement plan which are meant to secure the finance lives of their employees. 

This company allows its salaried employees to join the Amica saving plan upon the signing of the employment contract. For the employees working on a yearly basis they are allowed to join the plan after a completion of a one year vesting service. This plan has been reported to position the employees to save up to fifty percent of the gross earning they receive through payroll deductions. It should be noted that this is also accompanied with significant tax privileges. The employees have options of choosing at what level to make the contribution: before- and/or after-tax basis. Under this plan for every single dollar contributed by the employee up to 6 per cent of his/her salary the company will make a corresponding contribution of $1.00. The employees have a variety of options from which to choose in order to invest their contributions: these funds are administered by Vanguard. There is an automatic enrolment of newly hired salaried employees with a 3% before-tax contribution conducted 30 days after the hire date. The contributions made by the employees are invested in a default fund. The deferral rate is meant to increase by 1 percent every year with the exceptions of when an employee makes some change or opts out of the plan.

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Employees are allowed to join this plan after one year of service and if they are of at least of age21 at the time of joining the plan. The company developed this plan which is based on a formula providing 1% of career average pay (CAP) per year of benefit service. Under this plan the employees requires five years of vesting service to qualify for vesting in their accrued pension benefit. This implies that those employees leaving the company after the five vesting years of service are entitled to a deferred pension benefit. Employees are allowed to retire at age 62.

The Capital Group

Every year the capital Group makes a contribution of an amount of up to fifteen percent of an associate's total annual compensation: this includes the salary, bonuses and overtime. The contribution is made to a Master Retirement Plan (MRP) account. The associates are free to invest their contribution from a selection of funds which are managed by companies of the Capital Group. The associates are vested in their accounts as shown in the following table.

The associates are can accumulate extra savings for retirement through regular payroll deductions. The before-tax and after-tax Roth contribution options are availed.

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