In 2015, MassMutual published its Employee Benefits Security Study, which contained two key findings.
The first was great news: Employees think about financial wellness in a good way—it matters to them. But the second was more troubling: Two out of every five employees said they’re uncertain about whether they’re on track to retire comfortably, and that personal financial issues have distracted them at work.
As part of the continuing convergence of benefits and the alignment between employers and employees, MassMutual saw in the research a spark of an idea, one that became two exciting new solutions from MassMutual: Viability and MapMyBenefits. Both are designed to help employees as well as employers.
Our mission is to help people retire on their own terms and to protect the ones they love. Our research indicated that there were significant gaps in people’s financial wellness as well as their familiarity with the products and solutions needed to get to that financial wellness.
That’s really what’s driving our focus on the convergence of benefits, because we’ve learned that you cannot help people in one product silo at a time. You have to view them as customers, you have to help them holistically understand their financial wellness, and any solution has to be based on their own personal situation and circumstances. Our solutions are designed to help.
NEXT: The solutions
First is a tool called Viability, which helps advisers understand how to gauge an employee population’s retirement readiness and the long-term cost to the company if employees are unable to retire at a normal retirement date. With Viability, we look at a plan’s demographics and health care data, and calculate for the participants the savings they’ll realize if they improve their retirement readiness—what is the long-term savings they’d get from wage inflation, from health care costs, from things such as disability and worker’s comp that increase for people who work past their normal retirement date.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure more employees can control their own destiny. We believe all employees should be in a position to choose when they want to retire, and that can only happen if they are taking the right steps along the way. When employees stay past their normal retirement date simply because they can’t afford to retire, it’s not good for them or their company. The purpose of this tool is to help motivate employers to make retirement-plan changes that enable more employees to retire on their own terms.
Through our Viability program, we can help advisers show plan sponsors that by changing their plan design—and it doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money—they can improve readiness and, in the long-term, save significantly on the factors that increase as employees age. That’s a very powerful solution that ties an employee’s retirement readiness to the viability of that company.
Second is a solution called MapMyBenefits. This was born from conversations with both our employer customers and their employees. Employees struggled to understand how to spend their benefit dollars because they are on limited budgets in many cases. The whole point of MapMyBenefits is to help individuals optimize their benefits spend, based on needs. It’s also done within the construct of their limited benefits’ budget.
There are two things that are quite unique about MapMyBenefits. One is that we have a patented tool that calculates a benefits budget for every individual. It allows people to fully fund health care, voluntary and ancillary benefits, as well as retirement. Two, it provides guidance across the spectrum of benefits—i.e., health care to protection to retirement. Other guidance tools deal with one product silo at a time. MapMyBenefits does this all in one user-friendly experience. It’s truly holistic. That was just something we hadn’t seen in the market.NEXT: Changing the conversation
Both products are being received incredibly well. The feedback from all levels has been overwhelmingly positive. Advisers like the Viability solution because it helps them have a very different conversation with employers. It’s not just about what funds are in the plan and what the fees are; it truly is about how to help a company either remain sustainable or get sustainable over time. That’s why it’s called Viability. Advisers love that.
And the feedback on the MapMyBenefits solution has been just phenomenal. We continue to hear that this is unique in the market and that it’s solving a real need. That’s the goal: to help people solve real financial problems, explain the process in a way that’s very easy to them, and make it incredibly efficient to implement when they have MassMutual’s BeneClick! as their private exchange.
The solution set we bring to bear is changing the conversation in the industry. It’s changing from fees and funds to how to fundamentally improve employees’ outcomes and improve their financial wellness. We’re doing that at the employer level through the Viability solution; at the employee level through MapMyBenefits, and, when a complete fulfillment engine is needed, the BeneClick! exchange solution does that, as well. It’s an end-to-end solution that’s helping employees and employers change their outcomes. That’s the power of these combined solutions.
The nuance for a sponsor is that Viability, for the first time, will help them—in a very easy way—use their own demographic and health care data, to quantify the impact of having financially unready employees. From there, we shift to helping them through plan design and then by deploying MapMyBenefits. We really make sure their employee population is optimizing that benefit spend—all in a very easy to use, intuitive tool. While we are reinforcing financial wellness within the MapMyBenefits tool, we are also reinforcing to employees how much of their benefits are paid for by their employer.
As we think about convergence of benefits and the solutions we’re bringing to bear, we are seeing an alignment between those groups that wasn’t there before. The employers understand that their long-term sustainability and viability are going to be directly impacted by having their employees be financially well. Employees understand through our solutions that their employers are truly giving them benefits they probably didn’t appreciate before. The advisers are telling a very different story in the marketplace and are focused on the right things, including helping people improve their outcomes.
It’s an incredible alignment that ultimately is going to help working Americans save for their future.
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