There has been an evolution across many retirement plan
education programs—bucking the traditional focus on stocks and bonds, large cap
vs. small cap—to generations that include a broader financial wellness context.
The 2016 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution (DC) Survey shows
that just over half, 50.4%, of plan sponsors across all plan sizes offer
education on at least one topic. The most common is investing basics and
strategies (42.0%), followed by saving and budgeting (36.1%), credit and debt
management (19.7%), Social Security withdrawal strategies (19.2%), retirement
health care costs (19.1%), college savings (14.6%), tax and estate planning
(13.4%), home buying (10.3%) and long-term care (10.2%). Sponsors are even
offering plan participants bona fide advice.
When asked about offering advice to participants, 76.3% of
plan sponsors said they do offer advice, and that remains fairly consistent
among plans of all sizes, with 70.9% of micro plans and 73.4% of mega plans
doing so. It is difficult not to wonder whether these plan sponsors really mean
“advice” under the same definition used by the Department of Labor (DOL), as
on-site meetings with an adviser or financial planner outside the plan are more
common among micro, small and midsize plans, whereas large and mega plans are
more inclined to rely on a third party or their recordkeeper’s website or call
center—many of which would not be considered advice providers.
An independent adviser or financial planner who offers
on-site advice is made available at 41.9% of micro plans but only 25.4% of
large and 19.4% of mega plans.