Alerus Retirement and Benefits has announced the availability of its emergency savings account product to retirement plan participants, as it seeks to provide plan sponsors and advisers with more tools and resources for financial well-being.
Alerus emergency savings accounts provide a simple and convenient way for individuals to build a liquid asset for unplanned expenses. With just a few clicks, participants can open an account online and establish regular direct deposits via employer payroll deductions. Accounts are available at no cost to participants. Interest is paid monthly, and regular deposits earn additional interest rewards. Account balances are FDIC-insured through Alerus’ banking division.
This product has been available to individuals for some time, says Mark Alley, national market president at Alerus, but the firm is adding the ability for retirement plan participants to open accounts and establish regular deposits to make it even easier for them to build their savings.
“Because we are a diversified financial services firm, we have the unique ability to provide value-adds that not all retirement plan providers can offer,” says Alley. “In today’s economic environment, participants, plan sponsors and their trusted advisers are looking for convenient tools that make it easier to achieve long-term financial wellness, and this is one way they can do that.”
Individuals without emergency savings often must use high-interest credit cards or dip into their retirement funds to cover unexpected costs, which sets them back in the long term, he says. By establishing a separate fund specifically to be used for financial emergencies, individuals can avoid those pitfalls and stay on track to meet their retirement goals.
“Staying prepared for financial emergencies is an essential component of financial wellness,” says Alley. “A general rule of thumb is to have at least three months’ income saved for those unexpected expenses, yet research has shown more than half of us would struggle to come up with an extra $500 if the need arose. By providing retirement plan participants a seamless way to set money aside through payroll deductions, just like they do for retirement plans, they can build emergency savings at their own pace, preserve their retirement savings and easily access funds when they need them. Saving for the short term can improve their long-term financial health, benefiting both the employee and their employer.”