To help your employees achieve a secure retirement, it’s necessary to look at the bigger picture of their entire financial well-being. While many employers have traditionally focused on retirement plan design and participant enrollment, progressive employers are going a step further.
The International Foundation’s report The Path to Retirement Security in the U.S.: How Employers and Plan Sponsors Can Help, outlines four ways you can help your workers achieve their retirement goals:
- Curb Loans and Hardship Withdrawals. Employees might have compelling reasons to take out loans, but doing so can have a major impact on their savings. Help reduce the number of loans and withdrawals by limiting the number that can be taken, establishing a waiting period between loans or limiting the dollars available via loans and withdrawals. If an employee does want to take a loan, educate them on the potential impact it could have on their financial future.
- Assist With Rollovers. If your DC plan participants change jobs, encourage them to roll their funds into the new employer’s retirement plan or an individual tax-advantaged account. Doing so will reduce the likelihood that they’ll take a lump-sum payout that will reduce their savings (they’ll have to pay taxes and an early withdrawal penalty) and stop any chance of them spending the money and not reinvesting it for their retirement. Also, consider simplifying the process for new employees who want to roll-over money from a previous employer into your plan.
- Offer Other Benefits That Help Workers Manage Risk and Increase Savings. Don’t overlook the substantial impact that your benefit package can have on your workforce’s ability to save for retirement. Benefits you offer can support retirement planning by helping workers cope with life’s surprises.
- Disability protection will allow employees who can no longer work to receive income.
- Medical, vision, dental and hearing benefits can help workers deal with unpredictable but inevitable health expenses.
- Long-term care (LTC) insurance (either paid for by the employer or purchased individually by employees) will help address the financial concerns workers face if they need long-term health care.
- Employee assistance programs can offer support and resources to help workers manage financial issues.
- Provide Personal Financial Information and Education. Embrace a holistic approach to promoting retirement security that includes personal financial education such as creating a budget, managing debt, saving for a home or investing for retirement. You can also provide guidance for your employees to help them choose a financial professional—offering tips such as characteristics of a good advisor, recommendations of when to seek advice and common questions they should ask.
[Related: Engaging Members in Financial Planning | Benefit Bits Video]
You don’t have to tackle all these changes at once. Consider the small steps that could make a big difference. A helpful checklist, such as this one, can help you determine what you are already doing and what you could do in the future to ensure your employees are on the right track to a financially secure future.
Senior Communications Associate at the International Foundation