Retirement plan providers are making a considerable investment in participant education and communications.
When it comes to retirement planning advice, retirement plan providers have made a considerable investment in participant education and communications. Information is available to participants in materials distributed at enrollment, in group meetings, in downloadable and interactive forms on the plan website, from customer service representatives on the telephone and, in some cases, from advisors who visit the workplace. Each of these delivery channels is important, but each is also used primarily by a sub-set of participants.
The reason for this is that participants have differing preferences in the ways they select to obtain retirement planning advice. Some prefer to read, others want to listen, do or talk. The key point is that all of the channels developed by plan providers for delivering information are necessary to reach all participants.
No matter what their preference, most participants do not rely on just a single source of information for retirement planning advice in managing their plan investments. They are exposed to or have available information in other forms and via other channels. The preferred approach to learning is best thought of as the most likely starting point in tackling a new subject rather than the only source of information. The question that arises is: what do they find most helpful when they need information about investing for retirement?
When asked this question on an open-end basis, the answer is straight forward: talking with other people, in particular, those who are knowledgeable about the subject. Seven in ten participants cite a venue where they can discuss the subject and get answers to their specific questions as being the most helpful, according to our research.
The key take-away here is that no matter what style of learning they prefer, more than two-thirds of participants say that talking with someone else is the most helpful source for retirement planning advice in planning how to invest their retirement money.