Plans Might Save Time, Money with Online Tool

February 6, 2001 ( - Plan sponsors now have an online alternative to help retirees through the labyrinth of pension payment planning and enrollment, courtesy of Hewitt Associates' "Retire Online" service.

The service, which went live Tuesday for Hewitt client Wachovia Corporation’s 19,500 employees, also offers the potential for cost savings by reducing expensive and time-consuming paperwork for the plan sponsor. 

“Retire Online” brings the retirement process online, including:

  • pension benefit estimates
  • beneficiary choices
  • plan payment choices

On Board

Hewitt plans to bring as many as 20 of its clients online with the service by year-end, Leslie Pontello, Hewitt’s global practice leader of defined benefit administration told  Four clients are expected to be online within the next month.

Questioned about the comfort level of retiring employees with the Internet, Pontello noted that older Americans were the fastest growing online group. She also noted that retirees retained access to telephone support personnel, who would be using the Retire Online tool to assist callers.

Although the online method is self-paced, Hewitt estimates that employees educated about pension options can complete the process in one hour or less.  The new tool could shorten the delay between applying for benefits and receiving the first payment to as little as two weeks, from the now customary 45-90 days, according to Pontello.