Ask Erick: 401k Education for Employees

401k employee education Q: Erick, data from our recent annual plan review suggests that our retirement plan communication and education efforts with our employees need to greatly improve. Any tips on where to start?

A: Communicating retirement planning concepts to plan participants through clear, jargon-free language may be more dependable and effective than using imagery, suggests new research from Capital Group. The language that is selected for retirement communications is critical to prompting participants to engage and take the steps they need to prepare for retirement. Because each person is unique, there really is no “picture” that truly represents retirement for everyone. In fact, asking employees to “imagine retirement” and selecting an image of a senior couple enjoying their grandchildren on a beach (or on a travel adventure) may be considered by many employees to be extremely subjective (not to mention very cliché) — and actually turn them off. The Capital Group’s, “The art of retirement communications: How well do people today connect with the language and images of retirement?,” suggests best practices for plan sponsors and also highlights imagery and messages to avoid.

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Disclosures, Sources, and Footnotes

For plan sponsor use only, not for use with participants or the general public. This information is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. You should consult with your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.

Approval RP-822-0223