403(b) Participants Who Held Steady Enjoyed Account Growth

Participants in GuideStone’s 403(b) plans saw an average 40%-boost in their account balances between March and November 2009, the Dallas-based financial services provider said.

A news release credited the decisions by many participants to “stay the course” despite the economic downturn by continuing to defer money into their retirement savings accounts. “What we have witnessed in the last three quarters of 2009 is the power of market growth with continued contributions,” GuideStone COO John R. Jones said, in the release.

Investors who maintained their asset allocation and continued making regular contributions during the recent downturn were able to capitalize during market low points by purchasing shares at decreased prices, GuideStone explained. Consequently, as the market conditions improved and the shares increased in value, investors witnessed substantial growth in their accounts.

According to the news release, GuideStone provides tools to help participants stay on track with their retirement savings, including account statements with personalized charts showing participants’ projected account values, GPS:Guided Planning Services—an online tool to help identify gaps in retirement savings—and the MyDestination Funds family of target-date funds.

GuideStone provides employee benefit plans to more than 36,000 evangelical churches, ministries, hospitals, and educational institutions, according to the company.