Retirement Savings Conversations for Each Generation

October 21, 2014 ( – National Save for Retirement Week is an opportunity for retirement plan sponsors to get plan participants to focus on retirement savings issues.

“[Employees] trust and expect their employers to help them, to get them in a sound financial place, to give them advice, and to provide them debt management tools,” says Christine Lange, head of digital strategy for retirement solutions at Voya Financial. She stresses the importance for employers to help retirees in each generation—Millennials, GenX, and Baby Boomers—prepare for retirement so they can retire with dignity and continue to generate income.

Millennials are specifically dealing with debt and competing priorities. Lange says it is hard for a young person to start thinking about retirement when they have other competing needs, for example, making car and house payments. “Sponsors need to provide their employees with tools to help them with debt, income, budget, and the transition into saving for retirement,” she adds.

GenX need to focus on their budget and generating income. Lange discusses the importance of the “ability to generate income in the future, whether that’s five or 35 years.” Employees need to be presented with the tools, experience, and access that will help them get to where they need to get. Lange supports building experiences that are more visual, compelling, and interesting so people can better relate to them. This is the “learn by play verses learn by reading a long PDF” experience, she says. She points to the use of mobile apps as effective tools to which plan participants can relate. For example, the VOYA STRUCT app integrates game play while exposing players to fundamental investing concepts and terms.

For Baby Boomers, discussing retirement via the income view makes the conversation easier. “Monthly income is a digestible, consumable way to think about what you need when you retire,” Lange says. Boomers can understand they pay bills now, and they will pay them when they retire. In addition, members of the Baby Boomer generation in particular are measuring themselves based on their ability to retire. “Twenty-seven percent say the size of their retirement account is more important than their salary when comparing themselves to other people ready to retire,” according to Lange.

National Save for Retirement Week is about helping employees in each of these generations be more aware of the need to save now for the future, promoting the benefits of getting started saving for retirement early, and creating a culture that promotes and values saving in the workplace and the community.

—Noel Couch