(b)lines Ask the Experts – What Is Gamification?

“A representative from the recordkeeper for our 403(b) plan referred to the concept of ‘gamification’ the other day.

“I pretended to know what she was talking about, but, in reality, I did not have a clue! What is gamification and should I care?” 

Michael A. Webb, vice president, Cammack Retirement Group, answers:

The Experts are not terribly surprised that you have not heard of the term, as it is a little-used, yet cutting-edge, concept in retirement plan communication. If you would guess that it has something to do with games, you would be correct.

Gamification is the use of game concepts/processes in non-game contexts to engage users. In retirement plans, the context is using games to attempt to influence participants to take appropriate actions, such as enrolling in the plan or increasing one’s savings to the plan. The thinking is that many individuals spend more time playing computer games than thinking about retirement, so merging the two may motivate participants who would otherwise not pay attention to their retirement plans at all. In short, it is an effort to make planning for retirement fun!

A handful of recordkeepers have rolled out such games in an effort to engage participants. Will gamiifcation work? Only time will tell, but it is promising to see that entities are thinking outside the box in an effort to address the longstanding problem of lack of retirement plan engagement among employees.

Thank you for your question!


NOTE: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.