An increasing amount of companies are decreasing their employee 401(k) matching programs or cutting them completely. A recent 2011 survey demonstrated a 7% decrease in companies that had matching programs. With only 42% of U.S. companies actually offering an employee matching program, more and more employees are on their own when it comes to planning and saving for retirement. Professionals in the financial industry predict this trend to continue and even fewer new companies will offer any type of employee matching programs. In an effort to offset the decreasing amounts of contributions matched by employers, individuals can look at alternative ways to save and invest for their retirement. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are the most common alternative to 401(k) plans. Within the IRA, owners can invest in a variety of investment vehicles, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and annuities. Fixed indexed annuities that offer flexible premium are an excellent way to invest in an IRA and safely save for retirement. For more information on annuities, visit annuitythinktank.com.