The retirement plan industry is constantly evolving and 2015 brings us new challenges and opportunities to improve our delivery of services to retirement plan participants. From your role as a plan sponsor to my job as an advisor, we can identify and address the latest changes and help your employees better prepare for retirement.
While many retirement plan participants now realize Social Security dollars will not be enough to sustain them later in life, they still struggle with how best to create a retirement savings plan that addresses both their current and future needs.
Here are a few trends we can use in 2015 to help meet these needs and more:
Participant Goals and Outcome—Helping employees measure their progress toward retirement readiness is now a key focus for retirement plans of all sizes. By working together, we can show participants how to define their long-term and short-term goals, discuss ways to meet these outcomes, and then provide evaluation tools and reports so they know where they stand.
Big Picture—Retirement readiness requires a holistic approach in 2015. Employees are increasingly facing monetary challenges from all sides, so a responsible retirement plan needs to acknowledge these obligations and consider their entire financial situation.
Professional Advice—Participants save more when they seek individual 401(k) advice from an advisor.
A Washington Post article points to several studies that show people contribute more to their retirement savings plans and are better able to meet their goals when they work with an advisor. The Individual Advice Rule issued by the DOL in 2011 makes it possible for advisors and participants to sit down one on-one and go over retirement investment options.
Mobile Technology—Participants are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to access 401(k) information and conduct financial research and this trend continues in 2015. Interestingly, the use of mobile devices is popular among all generations, from Millenials to the Silent Generation. According to financial industry influencer and marketing specialist Sheri Fitts, it’s a myth that only younger generations use the Internet. Learn more about Ms. Fitts’ insights in the Embracing Social Media and Mobile Technology in 401k Communications 401khelpcenter article.
Diverse Delivery Methods—Do you know how best to communicate with your participants?
While online communication is popular for some participant information, many employees still want other avenues for investment education and enrollment help. Be sure to talk to your employees in person or by survey to discover the delivery methods they prefer for different types of information. The answers can help you better target communication and possibly save you time and money by channeling your efforts appropriately.
If nothing else, we know people want and need personalized attention. They want help with their problems, and they want solutions that work for them now and in the future. Whether a plan covers a handful of participants or thousands, we have the ability to provide those services by working together. Let’s take these trends and run with them in 2015!