Participant Education: Sponsors’ Number One Priority. Retirement plan sponsors’ top priority is participant education.
So says a recent survey from OneAmerica, which polled 1,019 sponsors over a three-month period to determine what’s keeping them up at night. Sixty-nine percent of the sponsors OneAmerica surveyed said “providing participant education” topped their priority list. A close second, at 67%, was improving participation rates. In theory, better participant education leads to higher participation rates, so it would stand to reason that these are sponsors’ number one and two priorities.
Fiduciary responsibilities (57%) and administrative tasks (45%) were also top of plan sponsors’ minds. Again, no surprise. Sponsors wear many hats, and meeting fiduciary obligations and, as part of that, ensuring plan activities are managed well and that the plan is compliant, are chief among them.
Retirement education and financial wellness programs are tantamount to helping sponsors accomplish their goals, and the more turnkey, the better. As OneAmerica aptly points out, plan sponsors are often under-resourced, so it’s important for them to get help in these key areas — providing education and boosting participation — to help improve retirement outcomes.
Do you agree with the results of the OneAmerica survey? Is providing a convincing plan participant education program what keeps you up at night? And secondarily, do you lose sleep over boosting your plan’s participation rates?
These are viable concerns, of course. If you don’t already have a well-oiled plan participant education and communication program, you could partner with a third party to help you create one, which would also help you to sleep a bit more soundly at night. It’s also a good idea to check in with your plan advisor, if you have one, to discuss financial wellness and participant education. They might have some proactive recommendations and be able to offer assistance.
The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. There’s help out there, and you can do right by offering your retirement plan participants a solid program to educate them about the importance of being prepared for retirement. Examine your options, and don’t be afraid to ask a ton of questions and interview a slew of different providers to find the right solution for your plan. Now that that’s settled, get cozy, close your eyes, and dream wonderful dreams of improved plan participation and outcomes.
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