Principal Tries to Simplify Investment Ed

May 29, 2003 ( - A Principal Financial Group participant education program is designed to keep the 401(k) retirement planning process as simple as possible.

According to a Principal news release, the five-month old “Hire to Retire” program was based on research showing that many plan education programs overwhelm participants with information resulting in boredom, confusion and employees making future investment plans on gut feeling alone.

Complaints of confusion and boredom following enrollment meetings lead to apathy and lack of participation, Principal found. With its current education offering, Principal said participants get simplified enrollment materials and more understandable investment information as they move through life. The program is designed to help participants calculate what they need for retirement and allocate their savings to specific investments.

Included in the research for the program were focus groups with American workers, commissioned studies, industry reports, competitor information, and feedback from The Principal’s three million retirement plan participants. Principal said it also factored in Yankelovich generational research, about the different retirement planning needs at each age and life stage.

The company said “Hire to Retire” features:

  • print-on-demand materials
  • online tools and electronic messaging
  • flash PowerPoint investment seminars
  • employer and employee welcome kits
  • a communication assessment tool
  • streamlined enrollment materials and videos.

Principal said it plans to roll out other print and online materials throughout 2003.