Prudential Addresses Steps to Improve Retirement Security

Prudential Financial produced a white paper to address Americans' challenges in achieving their retirement objectives.

“Achieving Retirement Security in an Age of Uncertainty: Three Important Steps” outlines specific steps to achieving greater retirement security. The paper is by Christine Marcks, president of Prudential Retirement. 

At a time when fewer and fewer people have access to the guaranteed income of a traditional pension plan, the first step is to bring back guaranteed income, but make it flexible. Prudential encourages employers to offer guaranteed income solutions within workplace retirement plans. With the help of their financial advisers, individuals should add guaranteed retirement income solutions to their personal investment portfolios.

The second step is improving saving and investing behavior. One way to improve savings behavior is to give more employees access to workplace retirement plans. Prudential’s Multiple Small-Employer Plan concept makes offering a retirement plan easier for small employers who are not able to offer such plans. Employers that offer retirement plans can add enrollment and automatic contribution escalation features to those plans.

With 44% of investors stating in a survey that they would not put more money into the stock market, the paper recognizes the key role that investing in equity markets plays in realizing retirement objectives.

The third step to greater retirement security is making the best use of Social Security decisions. Although benefits have been decreasing due to factors such as increases in the full retirement age, these benefits are significant. Social Security accounts for nearly 40% of the average retiree’s income, according to a June 2010 report by the Employee Benefits Research Institute. In an example of one such strategy, married couples should plan and coordinate their decision to take full advantage of the worker and spousal benefits available. 

“Achieving Retirement Security in an Age of Uncertainty” will be the subject of a TED conversation starting April 9 and running for three weeks, during which Marcks will lead an online dialog with the TED community. In addition, Prudential Retirement has created a short, consumer-oriented video with Marcks sharing the steps individual Americans can take to enhance their prospects for achieving retirement security.

“The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s National Retirement Risk Index shows that workers at risk of being unable to maintain their preretirement standard of living once they retire has risen from 30% in 1989 to 51% in 2009,” Marcks said. “National Retirement Planning Week serves as a good catalyst for companies and individuals to focus on retirement issues. Achieving a more secure retirement is a realizable objective, but it will require new approaches and behavioral change.”

National Retirement Planning Week 2012 is April 9 to April 13.