Administration

Improved Retirement Plan Communication Can Boost Confidence

DC plan participants are not very confident about saving enough for retirement, and providers are recognizing ways to boost website and digital communications to address this, a study finds.

By Rebecca Moore editors@plansponsor.com | December 15, 2016

Women are less confident than men about saving enough for retirement, according to Corporate Insight’s Satisfying Today’s Retirement Plan Participant Study.

Only half (51%) of women say they are “confident” or “very confident” that they will be able to afford the lifestyle they desire, while 64% of men say the same. This trend is consistent across age groups and is especially pronounced among Baby Boomers (52% of women vs. 68% of men). Furthermore, respondents who are not “confident” or “very confident” are much more likely to be female than male, at 65%.

The study suggests improvement in communication could be key to boosting retirement savings behavior and confidence. More than three-quarters (76%) of survey respondents report that they receive communication from their plan providers once per quarter or less, Corporate Insight Senior Retirement Analyst Andrew Way tells PLANPSONSOR. Just 34% of participants are very satisfied with their provider’s website.

Corporate Insight asked retirement plan participants to rate the importance of seven major aspects of plan provider websites. Plan participants continue to prioritize account information (90%) and security (93%). Also important to a majority of participants is design, navigation and ease of use (75%); account self-service (75%); transaction capabilities (71%) and planning, advice and education (57%).

NEXT: Providers recognizing need for communication improvement

Way says that over the course of the past year, 12 firms have made signification additions or improvements to their retirement readiness tools, eight of which added retirement readiness figures directly to website homepages. The demand for retirement income projections is clearly demonstrated by Corporate Insight’s survey of 1,488 defined contribution (DC) plan participants. Roughly 63% of all respondents answered that a retirement income projection is a feature that is either extremely important or very important to include on the participant site, and a tool offering results that include this projection was deemed extremely or very important by 65%.

However, the data also shows while individuals deem these tools as important, many do not take advantage of their availability; only 24% of all respondents stated they viewed their retirement readiness rating or chart in the previous 12 months, and only 23% used a retirement planning tool.

A common thread among the recent digital innovations by retirement plan providers is the proliferation of responsive design. Providers are working to create consistent experiences for participants whether they are using their computer, tablet or phone. Since September 2015, five firms overhauled their participant websites to introduce responsive design. At this point, 74% of the firms in Corporate Insight’s Retirement Plan Monitor’s coverage feature some level of responsive design on their public or participant sites.

DC plan providers recognize the increasing dominance of mobile and are approaching website enhancements with a mobile-first mindset, Corporate Insight says.

A study preview may be downloaded from here.

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