The Choose to Save® Forum on Retirement Security and Personal Saving, held April 4-6, 2000, in Washington, DC, brought together individuals (list of forum attendees) to brainstorm and discuss initiatives to help Americans better prepare financially for their retirement. Delegates participated in two separate breakout sessions: The first focused on increasing participation in retirement plans, and the latter focused on preserving assets saved for retirement. Delegates received agenda background materials prior to the Forum to assist in their preparation for the breakout discussions.
Five keynote speakers were featured throughout the course of the Forum. Lawrence H. Summers, secretary of Treasury, announced plans for the National Partners for Financial Empowerment (NPFE). U.S. RepresentativesBenjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and Rob J. Portman (R-OH),discussed the prospects for pension reform legislation and implications for retirement security and personal savings. Kenneth S. Apfel, commissioner of the Social Security Administration, discussed Social Security in the context of Internet-based information and services. Frank Sesno, senior vice president and Washington bureau chief of CNN, discussed the role of the media with regard to savings issues.
At the end of the forum, delegates were presented with a menu of initiatives that emerged from the previous day's breakout sessions and from Treasury's outline of objectives for NPFE. Delegates were first asked to rank the initiatives (on a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest) based on how likely each is to achieve maximum results with minimum resources. The original menu of items (with initial average score):
A. Create a national media campaign to raise public awareness|| (6.9)
|B. Create and maintain a website ||(5.1)
|C. Form local-level partnerships|| (4.4)
|D. Inform consumers how to use credit wisely|| (5.6)
|E. Bringing more "unbanked" individuals into the mainstream ||(3.9)
|F. Education materials tailored to low-income immigrant cultures|| (4.3)
|G. Promote consumer financial literacy in K-12|| (7.0)
|H. Help employees with financial retirement planning|| (6.3)
|I. Encourage more employers to offer retirement plans ||(6.5)
|J. Publish best practices in personal financial literacy ||(4.2)
|K. Promote "negative election" as a default 401(k) design feature ||(6.8)
|L. Promote accessibility to financial planning and investment advice for individuals ||(6.2)
|M. Promote retirement asset preservation/rollover through use of waivers recognizing foregone future accumulation|| (6.7)
|N. Require automatic rollover of lump sums as a default design feature|| (6.7)
|O. Promote financial planning tools and Web sites through SSA benefit statement mailings ||(6.9)|
The delegates then re-ranked the top five initiatives emerging from the first-round voting (six in practice, since there was a tie for the No. five spot), after a period of discussion on their relative merits and shortcomings. The final-rank ordering was:
- Create a national media campaign to raise public awareness.
- Promote negative election as a default design feature.
- Promote consumer financial literacy in K-12
- Promote financial planning tools and Web sites through SSA benefit statement mailings.
- Promote preservation/rollover through the use of waivers recognizing foregone future accumulations.
- Require automatic rollover of lump sums as a default design feature.
The Breakout Sessions
The following section presents the priority ideas generated by delegates during the breakout sessions. Before each breakout session, there was a short presentation designed to stimulate discussion during the breakouts. Prior to the "increasing participation" breakout, Don Sauvigne of IBM and Weslie Kary of The Gap, Inc., discussed the experience of their respective companies in promoting plan participation among their workers. Prior to the "preserving retirement assets" breakout, Paul Yakoboski of EBRI and Kathryn Hopkins of Fidelity Investments reviewed available data regarding rollovers at job change, the utilization of plan loans and withdrawals, and discussed the needs of individuals in managing their accumulations once they reach retirement. The slides from each of these presentations are contained in Appendix II.
During the first session, delegates addressed the following issues:
- How to increase plan participation at the workplace, especially among younger and lower income workers?
- How to motivate workers without a plan at work to save for retirement?
- How to encourage more small employers to sponsor a retirement plan?
During the second session, delegates addressed the following issues:
- How to ensure that money put into retirement saving plans remains in those plans till retirement?
- Once retirement is reached, how does one manage that money so it lasts a lifetime?
Utilizing varying techniques, delegates then brainstormed potential initiatives to address each challenge and chose priority initiatives under each. What follows are those priority initiatives. The remainder of the ideas generated at the breakouts, along with miscellaneous comments, is contained in Appendix III.
Suggestions/Ideas to Increase Plan Participation at the Workplace
- Promote negative election option (automatic enrollment);
- Allow automatic opt-out versus elective opt-in;
- Require automatic enrollment: Pro - increases plan participation; raises awareness of need to save for retirement; Con- concern that employees feel they are being forced into plan or forced into certain level of participation.
- Enable plan sponsors to provide investment advice;
- Keep choices simple; avoid too many decisions (over-choice);
- Introduce more aggressive investment options-encourage employees to accept more risk.
- Allow nonelective employer contribution;
- Provide higher match for lower participation levels (first 2% is matched $2 for $1; next 2% matched $1 for $1);
- Provide automatic escalation at raise time of deferral percentage.
- Have employees sign a waiver acknowledging they are forgoing a benefit;
- Have everyone sign a waiver of coverage or sign-up form;
- Allow negative election/deferral waiver;
- Require waivers-employees would have to see what they would be giving up in order to voluntarily opt out of plan; could be inexpensive, customized; would be less intrusive than automatic enrollment;
- Require immediate participation-eliminate or reduce eligibility requirements; no waiting period required.
- Eliminate vesting schedules-allow immediate vesting or create shorter vesting schedules;
- Allow immediate eligibility;
- Provide workers with gifts that are "age attractive" to promote participation;
- Create incentives that impact the person now-i.e. gifts, increased pay, other benefits available-that are only available to participants;
- Motivate employers to involve others in plans.
- Get participants to focus on the issue!!!
- Brilliant marketing idea of the new century: ask the participants what they want information on.
Staff Meetings and Seminars
- Mention retirement plan at weekly staff meetings, show charts on how company is doing with regard to participation; make it a game;
- Institute family/friends investing seminars. Education at the workplace; try to get the whole household involved;
- Understand workers' goals by conducting focus groups with employees (what financial goals do they have);
- Organize ongoing education at the workplace;
- Education during work hours on benefits; fun events; good examples-i.e., the $15 weekly saving that Treasury Secretary Summers mentioned;
- Develop basic financial literacy program through grassroots approach (church, school, etc.).
Market Education Efforts Based on Specific Demographics
- Provide different education materials to employees based on education/age demographics and provide material at work rather than mailing to home;
- Market message to the right demographic market;
- For younger workers, emphasize the ability to take loans for cars, tuition, etc.;
- Motivate middle management and supervisors to participate in educating employees.
- Provide continuous investment education-people will be more willing to save if they know what to do with their savings and they are more comfortable with their investment decisions;
- Give technical information to people not ready to change;
- Provide investment advice to employees who are scared or uncertain in selecting suitable investments.
- Distribute "Free Money Campaign" posters; targeted information about the benefits of the employer match and deferral of taxes; use e-messages; monopoly money on desks; balloons at entry ways;
- Organize payroll stuffer campaign at raise or bonus time encouraging workers to get more of the raise working for them by not paying taxes and leveraging their savings with a match;
- Make education message easy, fun, hip;
- Develop hip phrase similar to "Got milk?" or "Imagine the possibilities!" that can become recognizable to general population;
- Organize a "Financial Awareness Day" for employees to sign up for plan;
- Organize a "max your match" campaign emphasizing "free money";
- Throw retirement planning contests with prizes.
Personalized Financial Planning
- Personalize a letter integrating employer plan balances and mapping progress toward retirement target: Where am I, and where do I need to be? Add illustrations of how additional savings get you there;
- Educate individuals on other needs during retirement years (medical emergencies and insurance coverage);
- Provide financial education on credit/debt management; how to budget;
- Focus information on how small amounts add up;
- Focus the education theme on stressing long-term effect of compounding, e.g. $20/week over 30 years;
- Use examples of what saving $20/week now can accumulate to by age 65;
- Education/advice at employment entry showing long-term benefits of maximum participation;
- Calculate workers' paychecks assuming a salary reduction contribution and taxes consequently; hand out calculation with regular paycheck;
- Send a statement to nonparticipating employees showing them what they missed out on;
- Send a tailored letter to participants.
- Target peer companions with those who do not participate. Show how much they have and how much you don't;
- Publicize employee testimonials;
- Develop retirement plan peer "Advocates" or "Champions" to speak to each segment of the population (e.g. secretary to secretary);
- Key persons respected in plan should promote plan;
- Develop internal peer team to influence/communicate to co-workers;
- Encourage union support, which would lead to peer group support.
- Start education early in career/high school;
- Educate youth early enough so that they'll know how to save and participate in a retirement plan as soon as they can;
- Educate about the time-value of money early-on;
- Offer a product for children of employees that is only available upon enrollment.
Simplify Enrollment Process
- Use simple examples when educating employees on retirement savings; avoid complex language;
- Use the Internet: Enable all plan communications to be provided to employees free or at low-cost over the Internet;
- Send messages via e-mail or voice mail when salary increases are given; make action step easy;
- Provide direct communication to participants.
What About Workers Not Covered by a Plan at Work; How Do We Motivate Them to Save for Retirement?
Create a Marketing/Education Campaign
- Make it a national campaign;
- Greater coordination of existing educational programs and institutional leadership.
- Incorporate financial management skills into elementary and high school curricula;
- Start teaching in high school the basics of values of retirement planning;
- Begin educational programs in schools on investing and savings; emphasize importance to parents;
- Get to kids at school early on the importance of saving;
- Mandatory "check-off" requirement for financial literacy for HS and GED graduation;
- Make priority for schools to teach about importance of saving;
- Education campaigns on savings-start at early ages.
- Require total support from the White House and Congress;
- Organize state-sponsored ad campaigns similar to anti-smoking models;
- Encourage local and/or state officials to promote financial planning/savings/ retirement education;
- Put leaflet/brochure regarding retirement savings in tax return/refund mailings.
Build on Social Security
- Explain need for savings outside of Social Security through a national education campaign;
- Show the shortfall in the Social Security benefit (or lack thereof);
- Social Security should incorporate a simple "what if" with annual benefit statement to individuals with no tax-deferral.
Use Popular Culture and Same Demographics
- Have spokespersons spread the word and do the media circuit, including radio, TV, print, etc.;
- Spokespersons should be of appropriate age, gender, ethnic background, etc., to reach different demographic groups;
- Tap into cultural values more effectively. Find what's important across groups;
- Tie national campaign into craze for millionaires. You TOO can be a millionaire;
- Convince TV producers to work savings into platforms of sitcoms ("Everybody Loves Raymond", "The Simpsons", etc);
- Determine who is the audience, what is the message, how to deliver the message;
- Educate employees on value of IRAs, Roth IRAs;
- Provide paid time-off to attend "approved" educational programs;
- Increase public awareness so that it is not only acceptable to save, but it is "cool" to save;
- Use a multi-media social marketing approach: A national campaign that includes TV, radio, billboards, the Internet, telephone, direct mail; in the mold of "use seatbelts," "don't smoke," and "childproof medicines; the campaign needs to become part of culture.
Financial Community Support
- Have financial institutions take more of a proactive role in providing incentives to invest;
- Enlist local banking institutions to sponsor classes and seminars;
- Enlist the help of the financial community to hold educational forums;
- Educate through the credit card companies.
- Educate in workplace about variety of savings vehicles-Roth IRA, IRA, payroll deduction savings;
- Educate workers to lobby their employer for a plan;
- Educate/inform (during work hours) using existing examples (IRAs) of why it is important to save; how easy it is to save; show growth of what $20/week would amount to in 10 years;
- Create company-wide education programs with incentives for participation. Incentives would be easy payroll deductions, add-ons, in some cases group competition for largest number of participants;
- Offer financial education at the workplace;
- Use testimonials from people or financial advisors to spread the word at various companies, that do not offer a plan about the importance of saving.
Need to Plan for All Financial Goals
- Using simple calculators, communicate how even small amounts can compound over time;
- General financial literacy education-show retirement as a goal that needs to be saved for;
- Promote simple saving tasks that anyone can do each day and show effect of compounding;
- Reinforce that they can't retire without savings;
- Develop national financial literacy program;
- Provide credit management and financial literacy education through libraries, community groups, etc.
- E-news regarding savings statistics: 1) first home, 2) college education of children, 3) retirement. Make site informative and entertaining;
- Do a retirement planning seminar that demonstrates personal need and gap;
- For those workers who are saving for children's education, keep pushing the message that they also need to save some for their future as well.
Improve Plan Design
- Make it easy-payroll deduction (option to increase Social Security tax deposited in name account or tax refund into retirement savings account).
- Offer payroll-deduction mutual funds;
- Facilitate saving through salary deduction (or direct deposit for banks) to either an IRA or postal tax account;
- Make it easier for employees to participate in plan;
- Allow payroll deductions from checking accounts.
Greater Promotion of IRAs
- Incorporate the IRA into a retirement plan available at the workplace;
- Educate employees on tax benefits of IRAs; make employer match;
- Provide individuals with "catch up" opportunity to contribute to IRA for years in which they did not contribute or did not contribute the maximum;
- Provide subsidies-perhaps a tax credit-to low-income workers to help pay for IRA;
- Target IRAs more specifically to this group.
- Allow tax deduction for financial advice, like tax preparation;
- Give a 100% tax credit to all "retirement-related" savings;
- Develop a national program giving savers a dollar-for-dollar tax credit if they are below $50,000 in annual income; have select vendors run the plans for free and give the vendors a tax credit for their service.
- Personalize message on retirement saving through SSA statement;
- Make plan participation dependent on employee performance review.
- At no cost to employer, introduce "voluntary benefit" packages (via money management companies) that stress mutual funds, annuities, insurance, financial planning programs, etc.
- Begin offering a plan to these employees;
- Find another job (foster competition among employers).
What Can Be Done to Increase Plan Sponsorship Among Small Employers?
Create a Marketing/Education Campaign
- Create a Small Business Administration (SBA) program to recognize innovative small business retirement plans, via national exposure such as yearly "contest" with ad for winning company broadcast as part of the Super Bowl (PSA courtesy of network?);
- Enlist new economy gurus to focus on retirement plans in their material on an ongoing basis;
- Create a national campaign to make small employers understand the employee retention value of sponsoring a retirement plan;
- Tailor the educational campaign to overcome concerns;
- Create rock-solid, compelling value proposition that overcomes big cycle issues for all employers regardless of size or length of business.
- Work through small-business groups to educate companies;
- Use organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to bring in speakers on how to set up plans and invite businesses in the area;
- Work with local Chambers of Commerce to promote plans with small business;
- Encourage individual employee demand through community leadership;
- Educate employees to ask for a retirement plan and to make it an element of job selection;
- Create employee-based demand;
- Set up public awareness forums sponsored by vendor groups to increase communication of plan benefits to the working public.
Peer Group Pressure or Mentor Programs
- Establish Mentor/Protégé programs; pair big employers with small employers;
- Generate peer pressure among industry groups to offer retirement plans; make pension coverage an industry standard.
Financial Community Involvement
- Focus financial institutions on underdeveloped market-they will sell plans;
- Encourage ABA, CPA, NPA to get their professionals to develop a campaign to encourage small business clients to sponsor a plan. Bottom line information on cost savings;
- Convince more service providers to sell to small employers;
- Convince plan providers to present and answer employee questions and enroll participants quarterly.
- Redefine "small business" to exclude sole proprietors with no employees from definition.
- Develop a national retirement plan for all employees not covered by employer sponsored plan;
- Establish a "universal plan" managed by either the public or private sector that eliminates the employer administration requirement.
SIMPLE and Other Plan Types
- Make sure employers know about SIMPLE plans;
- Educate small employers about SIMPLE plans and other plans that are out there to make it easy for them to provide a defined contribution plan for employees;
- Show to employers that not all types of retirement plans require the same commitment as a defined benefit plan;
- Encourage employers, at the very least, to offer payroll deduction for savings even if they do not have a plan (e.g. weekly deposits for IRAs).
"Pooling" of Small Employers
- Allow small employers to join coalitions to achieve administrative discounts;
- Provide an "association framework" to deliver a single plan structure (an extension of multi-employer plans);
- To lower fees, create a handful of "mega-plans" with identical features and plan rules that can be administered less expensively than small plans;
- Create a small-business pension information center. Provide small plan information and "peer (industry) pressure";
- Provide information/education on advantages of sponsoring a plan, and offer consultation to help/assist employer (say, through an 800 number available at all times);
- Tap into small-employer associations;
- Provide for pooling arrangements so that pension plan costs can be reduced;
- Use Chambers of Commerce, SBA, and related groups to disseminate information on recruitment and retention benefits of plan sponsorship during a tight labor market.;
- Develop creative partnerships;
- Create some type of organization that can offer low-cost plans with pooled asset to small employers (something similar to Fannie Mae).
- Use technology in service delivery (i.e., make it cheaper and easier to use, with ease of distribution);
- Lower costs to employers;
- Find a way to make it simple, cheap and easy for small employers to offer plans;
- Reduce costs in time and dollars for management of plans;
- Minimize the administrative responsibility by using the web and voice response unit (VRU), etc so small employer doesn't have to worry about the plan-it runs itself;
- Create a simple structure.
Value of a Retirement Plan
Key Management Personnel
- Explain value of a plan to the business owner for his/her own personal retirement;
- Provide incentives for the small-business owner;
- Educate key stockholders and owners about benefits or plans;
- Communicate the need for plan sponsorship to key individuals.
- Organize a campaign-"Want to retain good employees?";
- With tight labor market, show business owners that pension plans help keep good employees and attract new ones;
- Encourage or promote plan sponsorship by showing ways that plan sponsorship will improve business, employee retention, and moral.
- What would be the greatest benefit to the small employer? Tax relief. Then help small employers learn about tax relief on types of plans;
- Educate on needed retirement savings and tax benefits of retirement plans;
- Create tax incentives for small employers to offer retirement plans.
How Do We Ensure That Money Put Into Retirement Savings Plans
Remains In Those Plans Until Retirement?
- Must address issue of trust among some departing workers; potential solution is referring the worker to the plan service provider for information.
- Provide numerical example to job changer demonstrating potential growth; at 8% annual rate of return, $20,000 doubles in value every nine years, reaching $320,000 at age 66;
- Communicate message early that money in a rollover is savings that are available for more immediate needs (e.g., home purchase); around age 50, it becomes more of a retirement saving plan;
- Educate employees on the time-value of money;
- Show examples of money lost to taxes and penalties if workers make in-service withdrawals from their retirement plans.
Show Employees All of Their Options
- Before deciding on a lump-sum withdrawal, job changer should assess his/her whole financial situation (preferably with the help of a financial professional;
- Require employers to communicate options upon termination from employment;
- Educate participants so that they know options and penalties;
- Include benefits of rollovers in education materials;
- Urge plan administrator to discuss benefits of loans over withdrawals.
- Employers should encourage "roll-ins" from their new hires who might be bringing "roll-overs" from their previous jobs;
- Require automatic rollover to an IRA when an individual changes jobs;
- Prohibit all rollovers and loans, so the assets remain in the old plan;
- Require employee to roll over at least half of their account;
- Simplify direct transfers between 401(k), 403(b) plans.
- Require job changers who cash out to sign a waiver that acknowledges the potential loss in accumulations over time due to lack of preservation; must be signed by worker and spouse/fiancée.
Tax Incentives and Penalties
- Provide tax breaks on assets in plans for 20 years or more;
- Increase penalties for withdrawing assets and put penalty fees into fund to help retirees in need;
- Change regulations to allow participants with less than $5,000 to remain in the plan.
- Forbid lump-sum distributions for anyone under age 59-1/2;
- Restrict access to employer contributions.
- Provide incentives to maintain and promote participation in retirement plan;
- Encourage the purchase of savings bonds as the reserve, to preserve 401(k), savings bonds for emergencies.
Upon Receipt of a Lump-Sum Distribution
- Leave in the current employers plan;
- Roll over into a new employers plan, if allowed;
- Roll over into a Roth IRA or traditional IRA;
- Take a partial distribution and use one of the above options for the remainder;
- Take distribution and start own business;
- Debt management. Use a portion or all of the distribution to pay off outstanding debit.
Once an Individual Reaches Retirement, How Do They Manage
Their Money So That It Lasts For an Entire Lifetime?
- Need to address this issue and begin planning years before retirement;
- Make no fast decisions;
- Defer a decision on employment-based assets until other savings are used up.
- Discuss options and make decisions/plans with a financial professional;
- Challenge to be addressed: unknown life expectancies;
- Develop a financial plan and budget based on projections;
- Set realistic lifetime budget, taking into account healthcare needs, life expectancy, etc.;
- Assess and re-assess lifestyle needs on annual basis-perform financial "check-ups";
- Establish partnerships with financial professionals to do pro bono work with in-need/low income population;
- Recognize that technological revolution will make information and advice more readily available.
Specific Issues to be Decided
- Establish systematic withdrawal plan over lifetime;
- The need to have some liquidity;
- Partial withdrawals;
- Periodic withdrawals;
- IRA rollovers;
- Live on dividend income;
- Investing assets that are not annuitized;
- Buy inflation-indexed Treasury security and savings bonds;
- Defined benefit plan may pay out only an annuity;
- Delay Social Security benefit until eligible for full benefits;
- Paid work in retirement;
- Health insurance coverage (enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, if not offered through past employer);
- Long-term care coverage;
- Needs of leaving an inheritance;
- Real estate owned-should it be sold or tapped into via a reverse mortgage?
- Debt management-how/when to pay off existing debt;
- Tax consequences.
Role of Social Security
- Social Security earnings statement may prove very important in motivating and serving as the basis for this planning;
- Recognize that Social Security will take care of the lowest earners (in terms of income replacement);
- Need to factor in Social Security as a base from which to build;
- Include information in SSA statement;
- Consider Social Security benefits. What benefit will the individual receive if single, and what benefit will the household receive if a married couple?
- Have lots of kids;
- Require distribution rule changes (money paid out slower to last longer);
- Exempt all withdrawals from retirement plans from taxes;
- Change 70-1/2 withdrawal rules;
- Require financial planning in employer plan.
CTS Forum Attendees
Pre-Breakout Session Presentations
Increasing Participation Overview Session
Gap Inc.: A Tale of Growth
Presented by Weslie Kary, The Gap Inc.
"Employment Driven" Capital Accumulation Opportunities
Presented by Don Sauvigne, IBM Corporation
Preserving Retirement Assets Overview Session
Preserving Retirement Assets: Cashouts, Loans, and Withdrawals
Paul Yakoboski, Employee Benefit Research Institute
Withdrawals From Defined Contribution Plans: Participant Education Needs
Kathryn Hopkins, Fidelity Investments
Non-Priority Initiatives and Other Comments
Suggestions/Ideas to Increase Plan Participation in the Work Place
- Tie activities to stages of change. Awareness: information for contemplation; technical information for preparation;
- Organize peer pressure groups;
- Seminars with lunch specifically geared at planning;
- Educate about options: how to pick an investment vehicle;
- Develop HR schedule to discuss retirement plan at initial hire, six month review, one-year review;
- Convey value over time of saving early;
- Accelerate vesting (make sure there is a match of employer contributions);
- Develop public campaigns;
- Quarterly reminder of value of program;
- Provide raise in the form of plan contributions;
- Negative election;
- Employee advocates;
- Educate/communicate impact of waiting to participate;
- Involve other family members in election process through meetings, mailings, Web, etc.;
- Run PSAs during Super Bowl, March Madness, etc.;
- Develop models with key features for daytime talk shows (Oprah, Rosie O'Donnell, etc.);
- Segmented communication campaigns; age-based, lifestyle changes, raises, etc.;
- Personalized education;
- Finding motivational keys for each individual;
- Role modeling;
- Scare tactics, how much you lost last year by postponing;
- Peer comparisons, people your age, tenure, etc., who are participating;
- Offer personal financial counseling;
- Tie into broader education, re: financial planning.;
- Personalized progress indicators for people (e.g., like a United Way donation chart);
- Ongoing campaign with seminars/exhibits, counseling, incentives, prizes, newsletters, computer/Web analysis;
- Regular video presentations regarding plan value;
- Personal appointments/conference calls within first week of employment;
- Awards/competitions between units: a) highest number of new enrollees, b) highest in deferred percentage;
- Birthday card (at milestone ages) to nonparticipants;
- Enrollment campaigns annually targeted to nonparticipants;
- Run contests pitting different organizations within the employer against each other;
- Separate company Web site focused on retirement savings, needs, and education;
- Union or workshop committee involvement in educating;
- Grass roots education to reach lower income, more rural populations;
- Worker participation in educating others;
- Have plan champion represent the majority or workers;
- Utilize current savers (in same economic bracket) to supply information/incentive, rather than "experts," Be sure to "train the trainer";
- Scare tactic about loss. How much you would lose by not participating;
- Power save illustrations. Show what money will accumulate to after debt is eliminated;
- Evaluate what has been done, i.e., what is working. Try to figure out why it worked or not;
- Provide information to workers in their most accessible format (consider age, financial literacy, income, etc);
- Encourage/sponsor education in local elementary and junior high schools and have the employees do the teaching;
- Seminars/workshops or one-on-one sessions or topical issues related to employees' age group, with invitations directly to them;
- Create "Savings Buddies," peer groups to discuss the benefits of being in plan;
- Web site storytelling by saving champions.;
- Present the match as a "raise" in communications for HR;
- Involve spouses, communication to spouses. Allow employee to get participation advice based on couples' financial plan (does spouse have a pension?);
- Get a participant to mentor one-on-one all nonparticipants at eligibility. Give an incentive to mentors (0.25% increase in their match), with an additional boost if the non-participant signs up;
- Managers or HR staff to request employee to enroll with a direct face-to-face request;
- Provide employees with clear models of capital appreciation that are easy to use and understand;
- Conduct focus groups of nonparticipants to find out why they don't save;
- Work with middle and high schools to provide financial literacy information on credit and savings;
- Credit management education to show how you can save by paying less to creditors;
- Partner Web site with links to fund companies, promote portfolio managers;
- Educational brown bags on: 1) asset allocation, 2) tips to savings for: a) first mortgage, b) college, c) retirement;
- Have an employee be the benefit advocate in each primary work area;
- Group meetings where employees who have been in the plan for some time describe their personal benefit results;
- Mailings to each employee's home with enrollment information and statements from other employees who are already participating;
- Personalized projections presented to each individual on a regular basis;
- Convince soap operas to incorporate savings ideas in plot lines;
- Engage national unions and employee associations to promote economic literacy and compensation enhancement among members;
- Publicize and broadly disseminate the Ballpark estimate;
- Create savings campaign in schools, with materials for students to take home to parents;
- Education regarding extent of Social Security under current law;
- Education of needed retirement income (replacement ratios);
- Learn about investing, good way to gain experience and get started;
- Illustrate cost of not saving in the plan (here's what you're losing/match not taken);
- Create "team" competitive culture;
- Follow-up on those not participating;
- Develop corporate culture to save;
- Allow Web enrollment/access;
- Develop communications linked to life events;
- Portion of raise required to go to savings plan;
- Salary increase across the board to go to plan; equal to Social Security savings;
- Teach basic life skills on managing money which can free up money;
- Better communication on what the company provides and support within the company;
- Multi-media campaign;
- Summarize results for participants and nonparticipants;
- Commitment by financial institutions and corporations to reduce barriers to saving;
- Provide meetings or info in a place employees can't miss or schedule part of work day;
- Offer inducement at meetings (food, knowledgeable speaker, senior management person);
- Make participation in plan the default option;
- Provide a progressive match based on wage levels;
- Send plan information to workers' parents' home also if worker is under 30;
- Fragment target audience-this is tailored just for you;
- Education/advising at time of employment entry;
- Peer endorsement of plan participation;
- Sponsor bowling team or softball team with shirts and logos that raise awareness of savings;
- Have after-work wine and cheese parties with colleague to present plan and importance of saving;
- Develop a Web site for employees to get info in a user-friendly way with simple calculators;
- "Free money" campaign-don't miss out;
- Seminars with child care;
- Free lunch seminars;
- Required training on benefits, such as other requirements (e.g., diversity, violence in work place);
- Specific examples emphasizing value of time and compounding with investments;
- Change employment culture to value financial security or employee/family of employee;
- Single message (e.g., max your benefits);
- Build retirement savings message into plot lines on TV shows (esp., Fox);
- Web-based educational materials;
- Negative election;
- Increase match;
- Publicity-awards for high contributors;
- Support clubs in investing and general financial skills;
- Personal contact by fellow employees;
- Add a match;
- Offer financial planning;
- Increase communications-newsletters, etc.;
- Segment groups-gear communications accordingly;
- Hold employee benefit meetings;
- Stress benefits (use examples of compounding, etc.);
- At forums, include more young and lower-income participants; who is getting their feedback?
- Focus on money management as a message from early on (people in debt don't save);
- Motivate participation by "loading" an account with starter dollars (through an employer contribution);
- Provide a personal experience through a tool, e.g., web, VRU, payroll check;
- Demonstrate the tax efficiency of deferrals;
- Vest match immediately;
- Recognize that there are no short-term answers;
- Have plans "sold" by young people to other young people;
- Eliminate all references to organizations that generate mistrust: government, big business, corporations, etc.;
- Rely on one-on-one communications: no reading, no mass communications;
- Clearly show the person the amount of money they are giving up by the time they retire if they do not participate in a work-based retirement plan;
- Make it fun to participate in the plan;
- Call their mothers and complain about young workers who don't participate;
- Ask if their parents are comfortable in retirement or if they know someone who is struggling in their retirement because they only have Social Security;
- Explain their life expectancy will be much greater than any other generations so they must prepare for retirement earlier;
- Create social events, "savings mixers";
- Show how small amount invested for long period reaches $100k, $1m;
- Negative enrollment;
- Make manager responsible for newly eligible employees' enrollment;
- Better odds than the lottery;
- Automatic enrollment;
- Offer loans;
- Immediate eligibility;
- Immediate vesting;
- Offer adequate match;
- This will help your kids;
- Allocate portion of pay raise;
- Employer match is a free pay raise;
- Train HR staff to work with new employees to help them better understand;
- Sign a waiver-realize what you are giving up by not enrolling;
- Show net effect on paycheck-a $100 contribution to a 401(k) does not reduce your paycheck by $100;
- Peer advocate/mentor explains benefits;
- Direct mail campaign;
- Increase company match;
- Leverage off bundled provider capabilities regarding communication strategies;
- Give employees paid time off to attend retirement planning meetings;
- Do national PSA campaign with "hip" spokesperson (world wrestling federation);
- Tie pitch to increase in stock market accumulation;
- Basic level education during orientation process;
- Share of stock in company in birthday care for each participant (or substitute saving bonds);
- If you feed them, they will come-lunch provided when employees come to a session on retirement, lunch in restaurant with supervisor when enroll in plan;
- Computer terminals in lunch rooms/break rooms available to employees to access info on saving/retirement plans;
- Promote the "savings" component of the plan;
- Promote the "match";
- Educate the value of dollar cost averaging and compounding;
- Make it fun!
- Automatically enroll employees when eligible; they must actively choose not to enroll;
- Make education available in a dynamic presentation; probably via computer-based training;
- Education on basic financial principles, such as budgeting and credit management;
- Employer clearly states program is important, rather than letting the vendor carry program;
- Where there is currently no match, provide even a minimal match;
- With younger investors, emphasize the savings aspect, not retirement;
- For the lower-income, emphasize ability to borrow for a home down payment;
- Create competition-Joe has $x,000 saved, why don't you?
- Show how $20 per week grows over time; explain magic of compounding;
- Targeting communication;
- Packaged choice-one option life style fund (simple action);
- Make language simple and easy; translate into Spanish;
- Clearly explain the match;
- Portability-you can take the dollars with you when you leave;
- Individual examples-if you save x amount;
- Personal meeting with employee explaining benefit;
- Waiver for nonparticipation;
- Company meetings;
- Great communication program;
- Company contribution for all employees
- Senior management involvement;
- Negative election;
- Improve incentives;
- Make presentation fashionable and interesting;
- Provide a match that is dollar-for-dollar (can be less confusing than match formulas such as $0.50 on the first 2% and $0.25 on the next 3%);
- Educate them about the words/jargon associated with finances and benefits;
- Build on knowledge they have of stock market/finances;
- Use different forms of communication (paper/speakers/Web site);
- Publish success stories or company champions who have reached $100k , $500k or $1 million balances;
- Tailor communication to the target age groups;
- Graduate match based on level of participation;
- Employee statements;
- Mid-career planning seminars;
- Videos on savings and benefits packages;
- Make sure understand loan features if need to access money;
- Interactive planning estimator tools;
- Financial counselor seminars;
- Tailored info for groups (female, closer to retirement, etc.);
- Promo goodies;
- E-mail messages;
- Comic book booklet;
- Credit counseling;
- Cartoon video;
- Involve families in the discussion and decision;
- Involve younger employees in discussions about what they will respond to;
- Trade-offs: cost of movie per week at 8% growth rate;
- Use sports and entertainment "endorsers";
- Web-based interactive retirement planning system;
- Financial planning worksheet and instructions;
- 401(k) plan education and overview of pre-tax savings;
- Investment education: value of equity market, returns over last 60 years;
- Show value of contributions at age 65;
- Make 401(k) part of bonus and merit review discussions;
- Consider focus on multiple goals rather than retirement.
What About Workers Not Covered by a Plan at Work;
How Do We Motivate Them to Save for Retirement?
- PSAs nationwide on TV and radio. Show charts target certain income with the advertising;
- Have a spokesperson spread the word and do the media circuit, including radio, TV, and print;
- Provide speakers (free) to target work places that don't have retirement plans;
- Financial incentives/tax relief;
- Public education campaigns beginning with grade school underscoring value/reality;
- Provide information about IRAs;
- Public education targeted at getting them to ask employers for a plan;
- Financial education programs at the work place;
- Electronic IRA enrollment via plan provider;
- Focus groups to understand workers' goals and needs;
- Broadly disseminate Ballpark estimate (through unions, mass media, etc) along with information on IRAs;
- Engage national unions across the country to promote saving;
- Develop Parade and other national magazines series on affording old age;
- Educate on what personal savings target needs to be;
- Promote IRAs with small match;
- Distribute information on IRAs;
- Employer can still establish plans, e.g., payroll deduction for IRA, and EE bonds;
- Eliminate penalties for not contributing when cash flow is poor;
- Talk about shorter-term goals-emphasize reward within current reach;
- National campaign slogan;
- Link advertising to specific events known to influence savings, marriage, birth of a child;
- Payroll deduction for IRAs;
- Education program in atmosphere of company support with workers utilized in planning and implementation;
- Investment education -- the effect of tax deferral and compounding;
- Tax refund deferrals into retirement products;
- Easy-to-understand technology, i.e., ATMs, to encourage saving;
- Pair up companies with solid programs with those that have none. Mentor/protégé program;
- Seminars/workshops on the importance and benefits of on-going savings;
- Ad campaign by the IRS encouraging people to take out IRAs and give the U.S. less money;
- Create an option to allow taxpayers to direct any portion of the tax refund to creation of an IRA by direct deposit;
- Add a projection statement or simple pitch for savings into Social Security annual benefits statements with an "800" number to get more information;
- Increase publicity-social marketing on IRAs (decrease confusion about IRA rollovers);
- Tighten credit, make unsecured debt more difficult to acquire;
- Increase availability of IRAs and other accounts targeted at beginning savers;
- Encourage nonbank users to participate by making it easier and cheaper to open and keep accounts;
- IRA promotion: 1) partner with provider, 2) benefits of tax deferral, a) growth, b) time horizon, c) compound growth;
- Personalized communication and counseling;
- Find a job that offers a plan;
- Offer national system instead of employer system;
- Tie-in to spouse's plan;
- Promote nonemployer-sponsored alternatives;
- Send kids home with tough questions;
- Employers provide information on optional savings plans such as savings bonds;
- Show them how savings is working for others;
- Show them what retirement is like without savings;
- Make IRAs more simple;
- Automatic payroll deduction for all workers;
- Tax refund automatically put into savings vehicle;
- Give employees paid time off to attend workshops covering financial planning;
- Promote options similar to Fidelity's Goal Planner savings plans (nonqualified);
- Create national savings index and ask people to compare with progress;
- Mass media campaign with heavy consumer focus, e.g., trade-offs;
- Set up automatic withdrawal from pay for savings;
- Community college type classes on financial planning, security;
- Education programs at schools, libraries;
- Availability of educational materials;
- Stop sending credit card applications to people without jobs;
- Social marketing (e.g., seat belts)-public awareness; education; easy access;
- Work through influential citizens in pre-formed groups (e.g., faith-based communities);
- Instill savings "culture" in early years (K-12);
- Pro bono celebrity advertising campaign, e.g., United Negro College Fund-get to Ad Council and 4As;
- Web-based public system of interactive retirement planning tools;
- Public message on importance of retirement planning;
- Create lottery so each contribution earns one chance;
- Implement a continuous repeating, nationwide savings message through awareness/action campaigns;
- Expand the message on the annual Social Security statement regarding personal saving;
- More public service announcements about individual saving;
- Broad-based education program;
- Parade magazine sponsorship;
- Speakers on savings;
- Posters on savings;
- Credit counseling;
- Promote spots like Choose to Save campaign;
- Public service campaigns;
- Make payroll deduction IRAs more attractive to employers and make IRAs universal again;
- Increase IRA limits so that financial institutions market these savings vehicles to the general public;
- Educate about length of time spent in retirement;
- IRA education;
- TV ads;
- Make promoting plans more profitable for financial institutions;
- Integrate action into tax forms;
- Encourage employers to provide access to financial planning information-third-party providers?
- Tax code changes-IRA limits;
- Impress upon them how a little sum of money can add up ($1 per day or $20 per month); make saving less daunting;
- Reform the Social Security system to have individual accounts-provides sense of ownership-allow low-income individuals to make voluntary contributions;
- PSAs targeting toward IRAs;
- Educate regarding magic of compound interest;
- Have them look at Social Security benefits estimates to illustrate how little money they will be getting from Social Security;
- Work with them to show how much money they will need to have a comfortable retirement;
- Increase IRA availability and marketing;
- Unionize and demand a plan;
- Tax incentives for providers of such plans to "generic" employers and to participants in all retirement plans;
- Hire them!
- Adults community-wide personal saving campaigns, with local leaders and support groups;
- Match money saved in special dedicated accounts;
- Savings education for young people;
- High school curriculum;
- Public service announcements;
- True discussion on Social Security;
- Retirement planning classes (during work hours) involving family (spouse);
- Require employers with no retirement plan to provide sample educational material on savings to employees;
- Provide unique, tailored sessions for this group;
- Communicate the reality of what Social Security will provide and the need for personal saving;
- Provide disabled with opportunity to contribute to IRA (even though they have no earned income);
- Increase spousal opportunities to participate in plans unavailable to other spouse;
- Offer some type of "club" or "membership" to people who participate with prizes/awards;
- Make employees indicated envisioned retirement plans as part of W-4 processing.
Small Employers-What Can Be Done to Increase
Plan Sponsorship Among Small Employers?
- Financial incentives/tax relief;
- Reduce costs of plans plan administration (private companies offering plans-Fidelity, AmEx, etc.);
- Education for small employers about choices for plans;
- Enact national health care program. Small employers generally offer health care before retirement;
- Eliminating the need for the health care plan could increase funds available for a retirement plan;
- Lower initial costs of establishment;
- Explain nature and extent of legal liability clearly;
- Promote the SIMPLE Plan;
- Campaign to help employers "sell" the benefits to workers (so they feel it's worthwhile to offer a plan);
- Educate small employers to benefits to them, i.e., 1) employee retention, 2) employee "ownership" in company, 3) employer raises level of "caring" for the work force;
- Get to the people who advise the employers;
- Prove benefit to owners/partners;
- Promote prototype plans (off-the-shelf, cost-neutral);
- Industry purchasing coalitions;
- Local and national award programs akin to Fortune 100 best places to work but for small employers;
- Campaign at management;
- Convince small companies to promote saving for employees;
- Promote through TV and various media importance of savings in personal accounts or IRAs;
- Upper management needs to promote plan participation;
- Offer 1:1 education/advice/financial planning;
- Positive enrollment;
- Help small employers better understand benefits to themselves and to employees;
- Lower cost (but this means moving fees to employees or simplifying the plan provisions);
- Create pension for small business information packets for distribution by local business centers for small business at community college and elsewhere;
- Target professional and trade groups to provide plan sponsorship education at national meetings or Web sites;
- Increase research on financial security of workers without plans so that we know as much about them as we do about those with coverage;
- DOL regional meetings for small employers on SIMPLE and other options;
- Educate small business owners on the availability of low overhead plans through local business groups;
- Make enrollment and other administrative burdens less time consuming and costly;
- Banner promoting "enrollment day" door prizes; co-worker testimonials;
- Provide greater tax incentives;
- Demonstrate correlation between plan benefit availability and increased sales or reduced expenses (e.g., employee turnover);
- A shift in thinking by top management that workers do not want and/or need a plan;
- Financial institutions offer accessible instruments;
- Offer ability to pool plans with other employers;
- Target payrolls companies;
- Develop education programs at SBA;
- Provide more incentives for small business owners;
- Employees must request more education;
- Enlist the federal government or "the coalition" to distribute information about plans designs for them, and have the federal sector follow up with SBA throughout the country;
- Bring down costs-push SIMPLE plans;
- Bring down complexity;
- Make a plan affordable for small employers;
- Give DOL more money to promote or modify SIMPLE plans to make them easier to administer;
- Raise withholding amounts;
- Encourage pooled arrangements among several small employers;
- Motivate employees to ask for plans;
- Do more association-type plans that cover small employers;
- Make plans flexible so that availability of plan reflects profitability;
- Approach Infinity Groups ease of distribution;
- Employer pooling to lower expenses of administering;
- Public service campaign;
- Create demand by employees-they value cash instead;
- Engage SBA to discuss roll of retirement plans in recruiting and retaining employees-make part of SBA small biz week;
- Electronic, easy, and simplified plan offerings;
- Mail booklets from federal agencies to small businesses through Chamber of Commerce, etc.;
- Send info about Web sites to businesses;
- Need to utilize economies of large vendors (TIAA-CREF, Fidelity, etc.) to develop and/or promote inexpensive plan;
- Use accountants and attorney groups to publicize what can be done-nearly everybody uses these services;
- Develop a state-supported process to gain enrollment;
- Reduce administrative costs for establishing and maintaining a pension plan;
- Provide increased access and availability for health insurance;
- Increase tax credits for establishing pension plans;
- Create networking opportunities for new employers. Ramp up SBA/SCORE initiatives to work with small businesses-make sure they know what's available;
- Work with small business leaders to get word out to firms about SIMPLE plan and other programs
- Encourage third party "consolidators" for plan administration.
How Do We Ensure That Money Put Into Retirement
Savings Plans Remains in Those Plan Until Retirement?
- Increase penalties for cashing out;
- Require employers to report cash-outs;
- Limit exceptions to early access to money in plans;
- Increase 10% penalty to 20%;
- Show example to person of money lost to taxes and penalties if in-service withdrawals are taken;
- Help employers find other options of how to get emergency money;
- Make it impossible for participants to take money out;
- Raise required age for distributions;
- Make rollover period shorter than two months;
- Offer incentives to leave money in plan;
- Add rollover information to orientation/discussion of retirement plan benefits;
- Institute mandatory government rollover program;
- Provide personal retirement projections based on income/age;
- Make IRC 402(f) notices more clear and definitive;
- Explain in plain English consequences of not leaving money in plan;
- Urge plan administrator to discuss benefits of loans over withdrawals;
- Educate about consequences of plan withdrawal, loan, or cash-out, including COBRA-type notice spelling out options with greater information;
- Require automatic rollover into IRAs;
- Require retention in plan after termination unless action by employee;
- Eliminate minimum balance for automatic distribution rules.
Once Individuals Reach Retirement, How Do They Manage
Their Money So That It Lasts for an Entire Lifetime?
- Educate about the need to have sufficient insurance for life, long-term;
- Encourage private annuity market;
- Make financial advice more accessible;
- Work with financial planner-government-generated information, etc.;
- Continue to work to create income;
- Build equity in residence;
- Encourage insurance-type products such as annuities and LTC;
- Balance investments to grow with inflation and stability;
- If people can't afford financial services, seek help via government entities such as Social Security, or their bank;
- Educate people on their options, budget, investments, resources and money required;
- Have retirement plan include Social Security information;
- How feasible is one-on-one advising for all American workers?
- Cottage industry is springing up to give financial management advice to the masses;
- Pre-retirees need more time/more education than job changers;
- Employers can educate and bring resources to the table, but it's up to the worker to use to help make decisions;
- Fear is a great motivator;
- How do we get advice to the less well off?
- Must view all of this as a 10-year, 20-year challenge;
- Partner with Consumer Credit Counseling services, professional financial planning groups.