Last December I read about this concept of a “Super 401(k)” that was offered by Devon Energy and discussed in BusinessWeek. This Super 401(k) was super in that employees were given more generous employer contributions in return of surrendering most of the investment decisions. It’s essentially a mix between a pension and a 401(k), because you get a much higher contribution but you don’t get as many choices. The negative is that with a pension, you get a defined benefit and the employer eats it if they make bad decisions. With the Super 401(k), employees eat the bad decisions… but get more in the pot to start.
It’s an interesting idea but I’m not sure it’ll catch on.