Principal Adds Retirement Strategy Checkup to My Virtual Coach

In addition, the firm has added a conversation explaining the value of guaranteed retirement income.

The Principal Financial Group has added new features to My Virtual Coach, its retirement plan enrollment assistance tool.

A newly launched conversation provides participants with an annual checkup to help track their progress and give their retirement strategy a once-over. Whether getting a raise, getting married, having a child or getting closer to retirement, it’s important to revisit savings decisions on a regular basis to stay on track, Principal says. The annual-checkup conversation ends with email-ready action items that offer reminders of what the user still needs to do.

Another new conversation explains the value of guaranteed income in retirement. It unpacks Principal Pension Builder, an in-plan product that allows participants to direct a portion of their retirement plan contributions into a deferred income annuity.

Launched about a year ago, My Virtual Coach covers a range of topics. Results from the first conversation, which tackled getting employees enrolled in their organizations’ retirement plans, include:

  • Nearly one-third of people who enroll through My Virtual Coach contribute 10% of their salary or more (only 7% of people contribute 10% or more using traditional enrollment methods).
  • More than 30% elect automatic, annual contribution increases (compared to 5% when using traditional enrollment).
  • Their deferrals are nearly 3 percentage points more, on average, than those enrolling traditionally.

The collection of My Virtual Coach conversations includes everything from enrollment to designating a beneficiary to investing choices. They’re tailored to the individual based on relevant information, so most participants can get through each one in just five to seven minutes, according to Principal.

In addition, given the increased scrutiny around what may be considered advice versus education under the new Department of Labor fiduciary regulations, My Virtual Coach offers a platform that helps plan sponsors track the education their participants receive.