HR Dive – 2018 Trends Present Ample Opportunities to Help Participants. A recent edition of HR Dive aptly observed that not much is changing for retirement plans in 2018. As such, it’s a good time for sponsors to redouble their efforts when it comes to participant education. In other words, not a lot of moving parts or new information to absorb means the timing is perfect to remind participants about the things they should be focusing on when it comes to retirement planning: saving as much as possible, investing those savings appropriately for their risk tolerance and time horizon, and setting their sights on a realistic, yet comfortable retirement income goal.
HR Dive also points out some interesting trends to watch in 2018:
- More service-oriented providers: With fees for many plans at all-time lows, providers have shifted their focus to a more customer service-focused model, so be on the lookout for better participant service offerings like robo-advisors, more robust call centers and participant portals.
- An increased uptake in auto-enrollment and auto-escalation: Basically, growing numbers of employers are leaning on these key plan design features to opt more workers into retirement plans and help them gradually increase their savings over time. It’s working, so why mess with a good thing? Expect more of the same in the coming year.
- Financial wellness in focus: Financial wellness is a big play for the retirement industry, and it is only growing in popularity. The majority of workers are stressed about their finances, which is distracting and detracts from their productivity. Providing them with a holistic financial education program that allows them to take control of their money and put it to work for them, not against them, is a huge win for employers and Happier employees are more productive, and in theory, better retirement savers, too, because they recognize the importance of planning for the future, and they actually believe they can afford to do so. This is one area where sponsors can make the most of their service providers’ renewed customer focus by having them provide in-house financial education programs. See? Everything comes full circle.
Watching the trends for 2018 and figuring out how best to use them to your participants’ advantage can put you leaps and bounds ahead when it comes to implementing programs to help them be better prepared for retirement. There’s still plenty of 2017 left — there’s no better time than now to start planning for 2018.
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