RIA tool helps employees reach retirement goals

By BenefitsPro


Paula Aven Gladych

Washington Investment Advisors has launched a new tool called Personal Retirement View. PRV is a personalized consolidated retirement income planning report that helps plan sponsors increase retirement plan enrollment and active participation to enable employees to attain adequate income replacement in retirement.

Washington Investment Advisors is a registered investment advisory firm providing pension consulting services to public plan sponsors.

Personal Retirement View aggregates data from multiple third-party administrators and employee census information into a personalized consolidated retirement income planning report.

Issued quarterly, PRV provides employees with multiple retirement savings accounts with the information they need to save adequately for retirement.

It helps employees answer key questions, such as: "How do I determine the amount of retirement income needed to maintain my lifestyle?" "How much of my current income do I need to defer to reach this goal?" and "How should my salary deferrals be invested to achieve this goal?" Washington Investment Advisors does not provide plan administration or individual investment advisory services.

According to the results of the 13th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey, released in May 2012, just 39 percent of those surveyed believe they are building an adequate amount of savings for retirement.

While 57 percent of workers have some sort of retirement strategy in place, just 15 percent have factored in plans to retire early and/or for loss of savings. More than a quarter (27 percent) reported they are "guessing" at their retirement savings needs.

"It's widely accepted that Americans aren't saving adequately for retirement. This is due, at least in part, to a lack of understanding of how much income they'll require in retirement, how much they need to defer to reach the required level, and the ability to determine whether their contributions are allocated properly and performing adequately," said Lenda Washington, president of Washington Investment Advisors.

"Our goal in developing PRV is to provide information seldom given to defined contribution participants. Unlike defined benefit plans that start with the end in mind, defined contribution participants are simply told to 'save as much as you can for as long as you can' and 'assume as much risk as you can stand' so they have the largest possible lump sum to fund their retirement; they are not given a goal amount, nor given guidance on how to achieve that goal," Washington added.

At the conclusion of a one-year PRV beta implementation (ended June 30, 2012) at a DC-based public sector employer with a cafeteria-style 401(a) plan and a 457 plan, enrollment in the 457 plan by 401(a) participants increased 2 percent; this does not include participation by mid-year 401(a) enrollees.
The third-party administrator for the plans identifies this beta period as the best enrollment year in the 10-year period serving the plans and attributes the record enrollment levels directly to increased employee awareness resulting from PRV.

Washington said she expects these figures to grow with an increase in use of PRV resulting from a robust communication effort of PRV's availability in the second year. Employees enrolled in the 457 plan are more likely (6 percent) to reach their retirement goals than non-457 participants.

"It's difficult to encourage individuals to alter their savings behavior without a specific goal and some measure of what constitutes success," she added. "PRV was designed to encourage employees to direct an amount adequate to meet their retirement income goal into their savings deferral plans and properly allocate their contributions assuming the proper amount of risk to achieve the returns required to meet this goal."

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com