Retirement Web Sites Have Long Way to Go

October 11, 2005 ( - Six in 10 Web sites from retirement industry service providers do not even offer basic information about retirement fundamentals.

A news release about a new research project on retirement Web sites reported that only 40% of sites provide a good first impression to new retirement savers. Only three out of the 27 sites studied provide a good first impression to people looking to roll over 401(k) money to an IRA.

“Gen Y is rolling into the workforce over the next decade. They are the largest generation since the Boomers. They need retirement solutions, they don’t know much about it, and they’re going online to figure it out,” said Steve Ellis, a Change Sciences partner in the news release. “Companies that want to dominate are going to need to make changes to meet the needs of the online prospect.”

The research also found that:

  • Discount brokers are not doing much better than full service brokers.
  • Many of the sites that provide retirement fundamentals are taking a kitchen sink approach to content about retirement.
  • Significant confusion exists over how to present the different types of retirement accounts, and only 63% make it easy to compare the two main retirement account types: Roth IRAs and Traditional IRAs. Of these, only 29% make it easy to get to this information.
  • 45% of sites don’t provide interactive tools to help people learn if they are saving enough. 66% of these tools have well-known usability problems that can be eliminated with improved designs.
  • Only 44% of sites make it easy to find out how to apply for an IRA.

The top three sites in the survey were Vanguard, Wells Fargo and Piper Jaffray.

More about the research is at .