Retirement Regrets, I've Had a Few…

“Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”

This saying is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin and it definitely has an application as it relates to the retirement readiness of many workers.  Having not listened to or learned from the experience and wise counsel of others, sadly it takes many American workers most of their careers before they realize that they are not in position to retire in a way in which they had hoped.

If you have worked with qualified plans even for a few months you have likely heard some variation of ‘I wish I would have saved more and started saving earlier.’  This is validated by the recent American Century DC Survey, 5th Annual National Survey of Defined Contribution Plan Participants, where nearly 9 in 10 expressed at least some regret about not saving more with over 50% feeling as though not saving enough is one of the greatest mistakes of their lives.  I am certain that if the clock could somehow be turned back these individuals would indeed make changes to their habits.  Inexperience in these instances is indeed very expensive. 

Additionally, the survey stated that 8 in 10 participants want a nudge from employers and indicated overwhelming support for the following:

  • 75% yes to automatic enrollment at 6%
  • 80% yes to automatic increases
  • 80% yes to Qualified Default Investment Alternative

However, participants need a nudge beyond enrolling in the plan.  As evidenced by this study they are looking for guidance, which is not a one-time event.  Yes, they should be automatically enrolled and deferral percentages should automatically increase.  Although, if we stop there we will fall short, as participants still don’t know whether they are on track for retirement and what changes they need to make to remain on track. 

I have the pleasure to work with many fantastic qualified plan consultants in my role.  However, the reality is that there aren’t enough hours in the day for even the best advisors to work individually with every participant in every plan to provide personalized advice and recommendations based upon his or her unique situation.

If you are like us, then you believe the true measure of plan success is the number of participants on track to achieve a successful retirement.  Unified Trust helps advisors deliver that tangible benefit in a scalable way.  Our managed account solution, the UnifiedPlan®, is deployed at the plan level and serves as the QDIA.  Unified Trust's approach begins by defining a retirement goal for each participant.  We then create a personalized plan that is unique to his or her situation, goal, current savings, assets, time horizon, social security benefit and can even include outside asset information.  Progress is reviewed quarterly and adjusted as needed.  A full gap analysis is presented on every quarterly statement and on demand online, so participants always know whether they are on track to achieving their retirement goals. 

Advisers working with Unified Trust can boost their value proposition by delivering the uncommon benefit of improving participant outcomes and do it in a way that is scalable for their practice.  Together we can help participants benefit from our knowledge and experience rather than their own.  While we can’t turn back the hands of time and undo regrets of the past, together we can effect positive change into the future for the participants that we are privileged to serve. 

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