Apples & Oranges

Comparing the Average 401(k) Benefit and the MSA Financial Wellness Program Comparing apples and oranges reveals one similarity: they’re both fruit.
By MSA Staff

Comparing the Average 401(k) Benefit and the MSA Financial Wellness Program

Comparing apples and oranges reveals one similarity: they’re both fruit. Likewise, if you compare the 401(k) benefit with the MSA Financial Wellness program mentioned in this article, you will find one similarity: they’re both financial benefits.

re·tire·ment pro·gram noun

  1. Also known as a 401(k) plan, it is a financial benefit that allows employees to make contributions towards retirement and take the occasional loan for financial hardship.
  2. A plan for setting aside money to be spent during retirement.

MSA fi·nan·cial well·ness pro·gram noun

  1. A financial wellness benefit that improves and maintains financial wellness through the multifaceted approach of education, one-on-one coaching and on-going support.
  2. Personalized coaching tailored towards improving behaviors and achieving individual challenges and goals.

The 401(k) benefit and the MSA Financial Wellness program also have their differences, just as apples and oranges do. The following chart shows the main elements that distinguish the MSA program from the average retirement program:

Employee Benefits



Pre-tax contribution


Holding & investment of contributions


Educational content (web, class, self-help)


Personal Money Coach


Coaching & education on all areas of finance


Helps decrease 401(k) withdrawals


Helps boost employee 401(k) contributions


Provides a custom financial wellness analysis


Helps employees with money challenges


Penalty to take loan

Establishes relationships, accountability & guidance


Necessary for achieving financial wellness



Why Employers Need Both

70 million workers have 401(k) plans which help secure their retirement funds,1 but 19% say they would use 401(k) funds to cover emergency expenses.2 With the MSA benefit, if a member falls on hard times, they discover other options besides compromising their financial future and using retirement funds to meet present needs.

Where the retirement benefit focuses on future finances, the MSA benefit broadens the horizon to include all financial avenues; that way, people can reap the benefits of smart money management in all stages of life. The MSA benefit and a retirement benefit are as different as apples and oranges, but they’re both “nutritious” and essential for an employee’s financial well-being. Make a positive impact on your employees’ financial futures with the MSA Financial Wellness program. To learn more or get started, call us today.

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