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Retirement Technology Solutions are Becoming a Helpful Tool

Retirement Technology Solutions are Becoming a Helpful Tool

Retirement technology solutions are becoming a helpful tool for plan advisors when working with 403b and 401k retirement plan participants.  Retirement technology tools are being used by the plan participants as well.  At the conclusion of a Fiduciary Education Session, conducted at Virginia Tech, Mr. Fred Barstein, Founder and CEO of The Plan Sponsor University (TPSU), visited with TPSU Adjunct Lecturer, Mr. Colin Clark, Retirement Plan Specialist, at Washington Financial Group. The conversation quickly turned to how his firm was implementing the many technology-based communication solutions available to advisors today.  A large driver of success seems to center around the installation of a Portal-for-every-participant.  Through that portal, the participant can initiate communications on any number of topics – from basic budgeting to complex ideas such as estate planning.  Learn how Mr. Clark’s organization engages plan participants on financial topics and how the data is managed in light of lurking cybersecurity threats.

Full Transcript Here

Speaker 1:
Fred Barstein with 401kTV here in Tysons Corner with Colin Clark from Washington Financial Group. Welcome Colin.

Speaker 2:
Well, thanks Fred. Great to be here.

Speaker 1:
Colin is a retirement plan specialist, works with plan sponsors and participants. So, today we wanted to talk about using technology to help participates set up goals and actually meet those goals. So, tell us a little bit about what you’re doing.

Speaker 2:
When we engage with a plan sponsor we really pride ourselves on taking a multichannel approach, and one of those channels is leveraging technology to really help employees achieve their number one goal which, when most people are honest with themselves they want to be able to replace their income for the longest period of unemployment. What we really do is we set up their own portal where they have their own personalized portal.

Speaker 1:
They’re a Dash participant?

Speaker 2:
Each participant has their own Dashboard.

Speaker 1:
Wow.

Speaker 2:
In that Dashboard you’re encouraged to take baby steps, and it could be something as basic as setting up a budget. It could be as complex as doing estate planning, and it’s going to engage that person and encourage them to take the next step and keep score to become financially healthy. So, we become, essentially, their financial coach.

Speaker 1:
Their coach. So, how are you using technology. Are you using it to send them messages and remind them? What are you doing with it?

Speaker 2:
Yeah, so they’ll have a desktop and they have mobile, and as they are working with their Dashboard they’re gonna be encouraged, but each step along the way they’re gonna be reminders built in, and we’re gonna actually push the information out to them, to say, “Hey, you need to take the next step.”

Speaker 1:
What if they don’t, what do you do?

Speaker 2:
Well, depending on the level of engagement they may get a phone call. They’ll get reminder emails. They may get a text message, so we’ll definitely be … We won’t leave them alone.

Speaker 1:
But, the technology is creating and reminding people to do it. So, how is it working with the participants that you’ve been engaged with?

Speaker 2:
So, so far it’s really been encouraging because you get to see from a plan level who’s taking steps. Now, it is anonymous, which is important from a cyber-security standpoint, from protecting personal information.

Speaker 1:
So you know it’s participant A or participant B?

Speaker 2:
Right, so as a plan sponsor as a fiduciary, you don’t know necessarily. Now, as an advisor I can log into Bob Smith’s-

Speaker 1:
You can see it.

Speaker 2:
I can see what Bob Smith is doing, but from a plan level you can see how … As a plan sponsor you can see how many employees are engaging with the technology, and you can see if there are results taken. For instance, how many deferral changes were there? Did the average deferral rate as a plan go up?

Speaker 1:
So you can measure the steps?

Speaker 2:
You can measure from a plan level, and we can measure from a participant level.

Speaker 1:
That’s great. Well, congratulations. That’s a good use of technology.

Speaker 2:
Great, yeah, we’re excited.

Speaker 1:
Very good. Well, thanks for watching 401kTV as we look at more ways how advisors and plan sponsors are leveraging technology to manage their plan, and also to help their employees.

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