Jamie Ann Hayes, QPFC, C(k)P, AIF(r)

Jamie Ann Hayes, QPFC, C(k)P, AIF(r), Partner and Consultant of FiduciaryFirst, specializes in Employer Retirement Plan Fiduciary Services and Corporate Pension Consulting.

Strategically Address Employee Education

Strategically Address Employee Education

An educated employee is an empowered employee, especially when it comes to retirement savings and financial wellness. To help employees better understand their fiduciary process the key features of your company’s 401(k) plan, and the importance of setting aside money for their future, it’s crucial to offer financial education.

Correct Misconceptions

Employees may misunderstand exactly what goes into your 401(k) plan. To dispel any misconceptions, companies should aim to communicate 401(k) information in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Bear in mind that employees are easily overwhelmed by a surplus of options! Make yourself available to help guide them toward choices that are best for them, and encourage them to approach you with questions. If they don’t ask you, there is a good chance they are taking matters into their own hands by searching for answers online or from other employees, which only increases the odds of miscommunication.

Offer Multiple Education Formats

In 2017, nearly one half of companies provided employees with financial education, whether as a large education session, one-on-one meetings, or within an online module. This results in employees with improved financial management skills who better understand budgeting, debt management, and proper savings techniques.

During these sessions, start by discussing the savings basics and why it’s important to start saving as soon as possible. Consider reviewing asset classes to help employees understand their options when it comes to investment options such as stock or real estate, and how it ties back into their 401(k) savings through your program. This is also a great time to educate them on asset allocation strategies, especially in a one-on-one meeting. Help your employees learn more about balancing risks and rewards, equities, and fixed incomes, and why it’s important to know these things when they decide to invest in saving for retirement.

Discuss Company Match

As you focus on clear communication and education, ensure that your employees understand how to receive the highest company match. Reiterate just what that match is, how to receive it, and how it positively affects their savings. Ask a recordkeeper to run a report analyzing which one of your employees aren’t contributing enough to receive the highest match — or any match — and then target those specific employees with an invitation to a group or one-on-one education session.

Ultimately, the education strategy you choose should be specific to your company and your employees. Encourage them to ask questions about their fiduciary process so you can help them achieve financial health and stability. If you have any questions on how to update or personalize your employee education strategy, contact us online or call us at 866-625-4611.

Tracking Number: 1-728022

This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors, but is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. Each plan has unique requirements, and you should consult your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does advisor assure that, by using the information provided, plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations.

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