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National Retirement Planning Week 2018 was two weeks ago. Did you miss it? (Another in a series)

05/03/2018
By Jack Towarnicky

Time to start working on National Retirement Planning Week 2019!

As mentioned in a prior blog, PSCA recently joined the National Retirement Planning Coalition1.  Their website is titled: “Retire On Your Terms.” 

The Insured Retirement Institute has participated in sponsoring a National Retirement Planning Week for the past ten years, this year during the week of April 9th (details below). Did you miss it? If not, if you noticed and took action to publicize the event, what were your results?  Did your retirement savings plan participants notice or did they miss it?  

As someone who has spent almost all of the past 40 years focused on corporate benefits, I have missed it more than once.  Let’s not let that happen again.  

National Retirement Planning Week – 2019:

Throughout the next 12 months, in the lead up to National Retirement Planning Week 2019, I plan to periodically post blogs focused on retirement planning with some highlighting the materials, calculators or tools from the Retire on Your Terms and other websites. These materials often focus on one of two themes: Save More (accumulating assets) and Decision-Making Upon Retirement (income replacement).

You can share information about the website and this blog with your participants. However, I recommend you take more specific, overt action, and PSCA is willing to assist.  

Over 31 years in a plan sponsor role, my experience confirmed that simply pushing material to participants in the form of tools, information, calculators, and articles is generally ineffective at prompting action or behavior change. While there are always exceptions, almost all of those who were more interested in retirement preparation were the  workers age 50 or older. So, while we offered planning sessions to any worker after completing one year of service and after completing five years of service and/or age 35, many workers didn’t attend and few took action.  I believe it was because younger workers weren’t “motivated buyers” when it came to retirement planning.  

Interest in preparing for retirement piques for many workers once they reachd age 50. While in a plan sponsor role, I led hundreds of pre-retirement planning seminars reaching thousands of workers.  The number one complaint we received at these pre-retirement planning sessions related to our 401(k) plan: “You should have provided this information earlier.”  My response was always the same: “We did.  However, you may not have noticed if retirement preparation wasn’t your  priority.” 

Over time, we came to the conclusion that retirement savings plan messaging needed to change:   

  • First, we removed the word “retirement” from all 401(k) plan marketing materials. Heresy!  Instead, we used an automotive message as a metaphor for the retirement preparation journey: “Drive to Your Dreams”.  This slogan was meant to pique the interest of all workers, whatever they happened to be dreaming about.  
  • Second, we refocused the 401(k) plan as a financial wellness solution (decades before financial wellness came into vogue). I called it a “lifetime financial instrument” – not saving for retirement, but saving “along the way” to retirement.  

Over time, conducting those age 50+ pre-retirement planning seminars got much, much easier once more and more audience members were already on target to accumulate a lifetime of savings in their 401(k) account.    

PSCA can help. Contact me if you would like to partner in developing a series of “along the way” to retirement planning sessions - customized for your retirement plan(s).  jtowarnicky@usaretirement.org.

National Retirement Planning Week – 2018:  

Once a year, in an attempt to raise awareness of the need for pre-retirement planning, the Coalition provides a Toolkit for Policymakers and Partners for National Retirement Planning Week. The Toolkit includes various communications, media, marketing materials as well as daily resources and events.  In 2018, it included: 

Monday, April 9 - Consumer Insights and Behaviors

  • Boomers are not prepared
  • My Retirement Paycheck
  • Retire using buckets of money

Tuesday, April 10 - Challenges Women Face in Retirement

  • Family Caregivers
  • Safeguarding Retirement
  • 7 Financial Decisions
  • Gender Retirement Gap

  Note that PSCA does not necessarily agree with or endorse any or all of the materials posted on the website.  Further, note that PSCA does not agree with a number of the public policy positions supported by the Insured Retirement Institute and many other coalition members. PSCA’s role is limited to general support for retirement preparation and planning as well as participation through contributions of intellectual capital regarding retirement planning.  PSCA does not endorse any of the products or services mentioned on the website. Please use these materials with discretion. You should not rely on these materials as legal, tax or investment advice – please obtain all investment, tax and legal advice from your financial advisor, or legal and tax counsel as appropriate.   

Wednesday, April 11 - Holistic Retirement Planning

  • Guide to Indexed Annuities
  • Retirement Workshops
  • Tweet-a-stat

Thursday, April 12 - Reach Your Retirement Goals

  • Budgeting Basics
  • 9 Annuity Questions
  • Friday, April 13 - Long-Term Care Planning
  • SOA Longevity Illustrator
  • Risks and Process of Retirement
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