Online Tool Leads to Higher Deferral Rates

Participants who have completed The Principal's interactive tool save an average of 39% more for retirement than those who have not used the tool, according to the firm.

Nearly 94,000 participants covered by Principal 401(k) plans have completed the “My Principal Edge Milestones” online tool, which analyzes retirement savings needs and provides personalized actions to help participants meet a specified goal. The average deferral rate for a sample group of Milestones users is 2.5 percentage points higher (8.9%) than those who have not completed Milestones (6.4%).  

According to the company, the most frequent actions taken after completing Milestones include increasing deferrals, adjusting asset allocation and rebalancing accounts.   

In 2010, nearly 30,000 participants used Milestones for the first time. Of a sample group of those participants: 

  • 46% either started deferring or increased their deferral amount; 
  • Participants who started deferring for the first time did so at a 7% higher rate (7.3%) than the overall average deferral rate for all participants covered by a 401(k) plan through The Principal (6.8%); 
  • Participants who bumped up their deferral after completing Milestones increased it at a rate of 56% (from 7% deferral to 10.9% deferral). 

Further analysis of participants with a known employer match who completed Milestones shows nearly 57% have an annual contribution of more than 11% toward retirement, including employer match.