Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.
From doctor visits to business meetings, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many of our daily interactions in person to online.
One of the positive aspects of this dramatic change has been an increased commitment to educating people about their Pension saving. Transamerica, an investment, pension and insurance solutions company, has seen a significant increase in the number of pension plan members meeting virtually with plan consultants since the start of the pandemic.
In 2020, Transamerica reported a 25% year-over-year increase in employee training meetings, thanks to fully remote engagement.
“Traditionally, Transamerica’s retirement education program has featured a mix of in-person and virtual meetings,” said Phil Eckman, director of operations for workplace solutions at Transamerica, in a statement. “With the pandemic, we had to move quickly to a fully virtual model. What we found is that virtual education removes most of the logistical considerations, making it more convenient and flexible for sponsors and employees.
Eckman said plan sponsors praised the convenience of scheduling virtual meetings. “Their employees have also expressed appreciation for the convenience of speaking virtually with a retirement planning consultant on their schedule,” he added.
Transamerica also found that employees who met with a pension consultant contributed an average of 32% more to their plans than those who did not meet with a representative.
During this time, 88% of employees who encountered a pension plan The consultant said their meetings were “very beneficial” and 91% were happy with the ease of scheduling and accessibility they had for virtual meetings with professionals.
“With more and more companies moving to a permanent work-from-home or hybrid structure, these statistics show that virtual meetings with pension consultants will be even more important and an effective way to give people the information they need. they need to prepare for retirement, ”Eckman said.
Room for improvement
The Transamerica data comes at a time when pension plans are apparently not doing enough to digitally engage consumers enrolled in workplace plans.
According to a September JD Power poll, only 24% of retirement savers strongly agreed that their providers offer proactive advice. The same survey found that only 43% of people said it was easy to locate the information they need to make investment decisions on a retirement plan website or mobile app.
The availability of proactive advice is particularly important for plan members. Those who receive this kind of advice from their retirement plan are 25% more likely to keep their assets with their current plan sponsor, according to the JD Power survey.
Reinforce your plan with commitment
One of the first steps to improving your prospects for successful retirement savings is to simply engage more. For some, this may mean improving their financial literacy using online tools, while others may choose to meet with a consultant from their retirement plan or hire a consultant. Financial Advisor.
Data from Transamerica suggests that savers who meet, even virtually, a professional from their retirement plan save more for their retirement than those who do not. Start by contacting your company’s human resources department and asking how to arrange a meeting with a representative from your plan. You may be able to do this directly through your online plan administrator.
A financial advisor can also be a valuable resource when it comes to long-term planning. And just like Transamerica, financial advisors across the country have responded to the pandemic by diversifying the ways they interact with clients.
In fact, a SmartAsset study found that 48% of advisers said video calls were their preferred method of communication during the pandemic. This mode of communication between advisors and clients is likely to continue, although more and more face-to-face meetings are taking place.
A third of advisers said video conferencing will remain their No.1 choice for interacting with customers in the future, up from just 2% before the pandemic.
The pandemic has changed so many elements of daily life, shifting in-person interactions to computer screens. But retirement savers have taken advantage of the new trend, according to Transamerica, and are more likely to meet with representatives from their retirement plans now that the meetings are being held virtually.
Virtual meetings offer more flexible scheduling and, therefore, more interest from plan members. Financial advisers have also adapted well to the logistical challenges of the pandemic, making more video calls with clients than before.
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