Issue Intro | Published in October 2016

A Clear View

The company cost when employees cannot afford to retire.

By Judy Faust Hartnett | October 2016
PS1016_Cvr_Chris-BuzelliArt by Chris BuzelliI don’t have a new car, but I must admit I’m amazed by some of the technology featured in car ads these days: the lane-departure warnings, the adaptive cruise control and, of course, the blind spot warnings.

Our cover story this issue tries to be that last feature for our plan sponsor audience. “Uncovering a Blind Spot” delves into an area that is, for all purposes, undiscussed—the company cost when employees cannot afford to retire.

According to an Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) survey, in 1991 just 11% of workers expected to retire after age 65, while in 2015, 36% of workers expected to retire after 65, and 10% didn’t plan to retire at all. However, our story contends, if plan sponsors can actually calculate in hard numbers the financial impact to their company, they may convince company decisionmakers to focus more on employee retirement readiness, freeing those who want to retire earlier.

If your employees don’t clearly understand the value of their benefits, both retirement and health, they may not only miss out on services, but they may also undervalue the worth of their employment with your company.

What comes to mind is a colleague who told me that, until she went to update her eyeglasses, she didn’t know she had elected vision coverage, yet, she had been paying for it on a monthly basis—meaning she’d failed to maximize a benefit she had been paying for, and she hadn’t realized what the company had been paying her toward her new glasses. “Sum of Its Parts," discusses how to create a strategic benefits plan as well as customized statements for all employees.

In the spirit of highlighting news and trends on a monthly basis, each issue includes Washington Update and Upfront—short takes on important matters. In Upfront this month, the article “DCIIA Standardizes ‘Auto’ Terminology” discusses a new take on a topic we’ve addressed in articles before—the lack of standard terminology for some plan design and automatic plan features.

Then, of course, there is much more. I look forward to your feedback.