Tool From Principal Offers Suggestions for Retirement Plan Design

The modeling tool assesses plan health and makes suggestions for improving it.

In an effort to provide real-life retirement planning scenarios, Principal Financial Group announced the launch of its retirement modeling planner, designed to assess and improve retirement plan health and overall retirement readiness for participants.

While the tool aims to power effectiveness by providing steps to improve plan health, deliver estimated costs on matching contributions, and stress the impacts of retirement readiness, it’s the all-in-one, single platform that highlights its efficiency, according to Principal.

“The advanced modeling planner provides a single platform to model best practice plan design features,” says Jerry Patterson, senior vice president for retirement and income solutions at Principal. “Plan sponsors and their advisers can conduct automatic enrollment, auto-escalation, and stretch-match formulas–in real time with real client data–to identify the most beneficial retirement solutions for their business and employees.”

The 2017 Principal Retirement Readiness Survey found most employees didn’t mind if their employers added automatic enrollment or discussed savings advice, a stark contrast to previous employer fears about employee backlash when setting steep default savings rates. Eighty-four percent of employees surveyed said they approved of auto-enrollment with a 6% starting deferral percentage.

“We believe in partnering with plan sponsors to promote best practice plan design features, which often result in life changing impacts for their participants. For many plan sponsors, the story sounds great, but it’s not enough to drive them to action. They need to understand the specific financial impacts to their organization and employees,” says Patterson. “This planner helps plan sponsors and the advisers that serve them, turn that ‘story’ into an actionable strategy for their specific workforce.”

According to Principal, the platform is “being rolled out in a phased approach,” with plan sponsors with eligible plan employees in a single location, including employees in 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans, will have access to the tool first—provided all participants are subject to the same automated plan provisions. The modeling tool will be available to plans with participants in multiple locations by the end of the year.