John Hancock has introduced two tools designed to help solve the challenges of unexpected expenses and planning for and funding higher education costs, in an effort to help retirement plan participants work toward retirement readiness.
A national survey from the Federal Reserve reported that 40% of people can’t afford a $400 emergency expense such as a car repair or replacing a broken appliance, and John Hancock’s most recent Financial Stress Survey showed one-quarter of respondents had no emergency savings at all.
Now, with the click of a button on John Hancock Retirement’s participant site, participants can create an emergency savings account. Once a savings goal is entered, the participant links his checking account and sets up weekly recurring deposits.
Participants can track progress toward the savings goal and are able to withdraw funds at any time with no fees. The company says this can help participants prepare for unexpected financial needs and may prevent them from tapping into their retirement account.
Patrick Murphy, CEO, John Hancock Retirement, tells PLANSPONSOR the emergency savings solution can be made available to all participants in retirement plans served by the company, but it is up to each plan sponsor client whether to make it available to their plan’s participants.
When it comes to college planning, while more than half of American households are currently saving for college, planning for college remains a top worry among parents, according to Sallie Mae. In addition, fewer than one-third of parents say they have the knowledge needed to guide their children through the application and decision-making process, an American Student Assistance report says.
The Education Planning Center, not affiliated with John Hancock, is also available on the company’s participant site and allows participants to estimate the costs of higher education and help define funding gaps in current savings strategies. The portal offers resources to help with college selection, scholarships and financial aid, navigation of the college application process and more. In the complimentary Education Planning Center, participants can:
- Get expert step-by-step guidance based on the prospective student’s age;
- Search for schools that best fit a student’s academic profile, and compare school details such as admissions and tuition costs;
- Prep for standardized tests; and
- Find scholarships.
“Everyone’s journey to retirement readiness is different,” says Sosseh Malkhassian, head of participant experience, John Hancock Retirement. “By offering resources that are easy to access and use, we’re making it easier for our participants to make well-informed decisions, manage multiple priorities and take action in their financial lives. And that sets them up to build and meet long-term retirement readiness goals.”