Gen X, Y Prefer Interactive Retirement Tools

Companies should address retirement plan communication preferences of the “digital” generations.

Because generations are so different from one another, it is important for plan sponsors to create strategies for different segments of the employee population, Chris Augelli, vice president of product marketing and business development at ADP, told PLANADVISER

According to a paper by ADP titled “Retirement Planning Mutual Gains,” Generations X and Y are “digital natives” who need greater online access to interactive education tools that provide them with helpful information. Enterprise Council on Small Business (ECSB) research found that younger business people tend to rely more on mobile applications and smartphones (60%) and participate in more advanced activities, from searching the Internet (47%) to downloading and reading files (20%) and watching online videos (9%). “They want to do independent research,” Augelli said.

ECSB also found that younger Americans respond best to information that is available to them 24/7 and delivered via a variety of communication channels such as blogs, social media, apps and websites. They also want interactive tools such as retirement calculators. Older employees, on the other hand, still prefer to receive information more directly via mail or e-mail.

ADP recently created an app, “ADP Retirement Services Mobile Enrollment Application,” that can be used on all mobile devices as well as the company website. The app is now in a pilot launch and will go live nationally in the near future, Augelli said. “The entire thought process here was to simplify the [enrollment] process,” he added.


The app also takes into account employees’ personal data such as payroll information, and if preferred, an adviser on the plan can walk the employee through the app.

When it comes to the younger generations, digital is here to stay. “People have expectations of how the world works,” Augelli said—they want fast, easy and interactive. “Give them the experience in which they can go in and see relevant data but also have input.”

The time is now to provide tools for these generations, as Augelli said retirement planning awareness is “higher than it’s ever been, particularly among younger generations.”

The ADP paper is available here.