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National 401(k) Champion® Competition Announces Winners

Financial Literacy Proponent Launches  Educational Initiative to Promote 401(k) Participation:  The 2023 401(k) Champion

Industry leaders recognize 401(k) participants who demonstrate both 401(k) knowledge and peer-to-peer leadership

Encourage everyone to contribute as soon as they enter the workforce…so they don’t miss out on free money”
— Chung Li - 2023 401(k) Champion®

STAMFORD, CT, UNITED STATES, February 1, 2024 / -- The 401(k) Champion® Competition, the only national essay contest for 401(k) participants, is pleased to announce 2023’s 401(k) Champions® ( Congratulations to: Chung Li, Comcast, Horsham, PA; Christopher Orlando, Mika Metal Fabricating, Cleveland, OH; Hayden Tank, The Travel Corporation, Corona del Mar, CA.

The Role of Mentorship

Receiving the title of 401(k) Champion® increases interest in mentoring others. As Kevin Alexander, a 2022 Champion® said, “Becoming a 401(k) Champion® only makes me more resolved to keep paying forward the wisdom my co-workers shared with me.”

The Competition

The purpose of the 401(k) Champion® Competition is to:

• Shine a light on 401(k) participants who can share their enthusiasm for learning about how to benefit from their 401(k)s
• Energize non-participants to learn how to use 401(k)s to save for retirement
• Encourage 401(k) peer-to-peer leadership by helping employees help each other

Why 401(k) Education Is Needed, and How Peer-to-Peer Mentorship Can Help

Mentors helped develop 401(k) Champions®.

A mentor helped 2023 401(k) Champion® Hayden Tank get started with his 401(k). Tank recounted that he had a “very vague understanding” of 401(k)s, but a friend talked with him about setting one up with his employer: “[He] helped me set a budget and start investing toward my future.”

And 401(k) Champions® can help mentor others.

2023 401(k) Champion® Christopher Orlando said: “I talk about it enough that some friends come to [me] for advice on getting started . . . My best man is already asking when he can sign up to be a 401(k) Champion® himself!”

Fellow 2023 401(k) Champion® Chung Li explained that she would “encourage everyone to contribute as soon as they enter the workforce . . . so they don’t miss out on free money.” Li added that she would show a spreadsheet of how one can “be a millionaire if they contribute x amount over the years and how much less they will get if they start 10 years later.”

Starting retirement savings early is an important message for peers to share.

“After college and starting my career, [at] my first job that offered benefits, I maximized their 401(k) match immediately to get as much going as possible . . . the sooner you have a sizable amount saved, the sooner you see your compounding dividends,” Orlando said.

Will you be the next 401(k) Champion®? The 2024 contest will launch in the Spring of 2024.

About the Judges

The applications were judged by:

• Nevin Adams, retired Chief Content Officer for the American Retirement Association. The American Retirement Association is a non-profit professional organization with two major goals: to educate all retirement plan and benefits professionals, and to create a framework of policy that gives every working American the ability to have a comfortable retirement. Formerly, Adams was Director of Education and External Relations at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI); Global Editor-in-Chief, PLANSPONSOR. The American Retirement Association, PLANSPONSOR and ISS are not affiliated with the 401(k) Champion® Award Competition or the award’s sponsors.

• Anthony Aiken, CPA, CVA, MS, retired founder of Aiken & Company, PC.

• Adam Berkowitz, Chief Operating Officer of New Heights Youth, Inc., a non-profit sports-based youth-development and educational organization based in New York City.

• Manny Bernardo, retired Human Resources Benefits Executive, former Director of Employee Benefits Tax Services for Deloitte & Touche Tristate, and former Benefits Specialist Attorney.

David Wray, a longtime advocate for the 401(k) as a retirement savings tool and retired president of the Plan Sponsor Council of America, serves as adviser to the competition.

About the Sponsors of the Competition

The 401(k) Champion® Competition is the initiative of financial literacy proponent, Julie Jason, JD, LLM, and her firm, Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers, Inc. (Stamford, CT). The firm benefits from sponsoring educational initiatives to meet its financial literacy mission. Julie’s interest in 401(k)s came from having a lawyer-client who was not participating in his 401(k). She searched for a book on why matched 401(k)s outshine any investment he could make on his own, but found none, which led her to write “You and Your 401(k)” in 1996 (Simon & Schuster) and “The 401(k) Plan Handbook” in 1997 (Prentice Hall).

Julie’s latest book, “The Discerning Investor: Personal Portfolio Management in Retirement for Lawyers (and Their Clients)” (published by the American Bar Association), was recognized for excellence in financial literacy education (the EIFLE Award), making her the first author in the history of the EIFLE to receive the coveted honor for four consecutive books. “The Discerning Investor” was also honored with the New York State Society of CPA’s Excellence in Financial Journalism Award. Click here for more information. Julie’s other investment books can be found at Her Clarion award-winning weekly investor education column is syndicated by Andrews McMeel Syndication.

Ilona Kucharczyk
Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers, Inc.
+1 203-322-1198
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