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So, do I recommend a set amount paid by the organization to each employee per year - either a flat sum, or a percentage of salary? Or, do I recommend that the Board match employee contributions - up to a certain dollar amount, or a percentage of salary? or some combination of the two? And what percentages are commonly used?

What is appropriate really depends on the other benefits that you have as far as pensions, bonuses, etc. My company is on the low end, given that we do not have a pension plan anymore, and matches 3% (50% of the first 6%). In pricing out what this will cost your organization, remember to take into account that many plans have a five year vesting period so that if you have anyone leave before they are vested, than you may retain part(but not all) of the matched part.

As mentioned in a prior post it is still beneficial to the employees to be able to contribute to the plan even if there is no match because of the tax deductions and the ability to let your retirement money grow tax deferred. Arguments can be made that other retirement accounts should be funded first; but aggressive savers can easily max these out so even an unmatched 403(b) can be worthwhile depending on your specific situation. Once you have the 403(b) set up you can add a match sometime in the future if your board does not want to add a match now.

If you have the choice please try to go with a plan with a reasonable annual fee to the organization but has good choices, instead of an "inexpensive" plan with not so good choices.

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