In the face of an ever-increasing need to balance saving for retirement with high day-to-day spending, both mundane and crisis-related, Fidelity Investments is launching a new “Plan for Life” initiative that uses a variety of tools to help tackle that goal.
Seeing their more than 15 million workplace plan participants as lacking an approach to saving that is sufficiently “holistic,” Fidelity is combining online, telephone and in-person resources in efforts to ensure that neither 401(k)s nor “life events” go underfunded.
Income Simulator, for example, shows employees in simple terms how minor ripples in their savings plans can create waves years later in retirement savings. The online tool seeks to make changes fast and comprehensive and, like all good investment plans, it tailors the experience to the participant.
“Plan for Life is a reflection of how our participants’ needs have evolved and expanded over the years with competing financial priorities and heavier reliance on their workplace savings plans to help them plan for retirement,” says Julia McCarthy, Fidelity’s executive vice president for workplace marketing, solutions and experience. “Simply asking employees to save more money from each paycheck no longer addresses many of the challenges our participants are facing in today’s economic environment.”
Attendance at on-site guidance and planning sessions, according to Fidelity, rose 40% in the first quarter of 2012 over the same period last year. Assistance planning can be as personal (face-to-face consultations are open to spouses and other family members, as well as participants) or technologically efficient (education programs are available for mobile tablets) as desired.
In addition, Fidelity has upped its workplace guidance phone representatives by 80% this year, all with FINRA Series 7 license. Future retirees have a wide range of situations, and, as McCarthy says, Plan for Life aims to “help them manage the complexities but simplify the decision-making process.”
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