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Helping Your 401(k) Plan Win vs. the Flat Screen TV

Thank you Dr. Joe Coughlin, Founder and Director of the MIT AgeLab for an epic podcast episode. Employers should really take away some great perspective on how generational shifts in workplace attitudes will have a dramatic impact on the future of employee benefits. If you have not had a chance to listen to the interview, the link is below.

Now, for this week's Fiduciary Fact and Folly.

This was a pretty easy one. With the explosion of the gig economy, the rise of the millennials and the relentless improvement in technology, the big fact from my conversation with Dr. Joe is, dramatic changes in the workforce are not a conversation for tomorrow but a reality unfolding in front of our eyes today.

While we covered a lot of ground and hit on many trends that will impact the workforce going forward, let’s focus for a minute on a few retirement plan concepts that we discussed. If you want to maintain an agile and flexible workforce that allows for new blood to come through the doors every year, does your retirement plan stress or highlight how it will provide security to your employees individually? If you have older workers that are close to or even beyond the normal retirement age, are you helping them envision what 8,000 days in retirement could look like and maybe help them find meaning in retirement? Have you thought about how you will help your employees address the emotional and social elements of making the transition into retirement? As multiple different studies are showing, with the new reality of longevity, when employees make the transition into retirement is not governed by the single variable of money, employers and their service partners need to have the imagination to help their employees create a vision of what their lifestyle will be, what will they do for leisure, where they will be living and even how they could continue some work ever after they have “retired”. By helping employees create their own vision, this could motivate and incentivize people to take better care of their health and save more to enjoy that vision.

As Dr. Joe said, if we don’t start thinking this way, it is folly to think that saving for retirement will win out over the flat screen TV.


If you would like to better understand how to communicate, design or even reimagine your retirement benefits program to better engage with and support a multi-generational and evolving workforce, send an email to There is no pressure and no commitment, and who knows, we might be able to help!

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