Redefining the traditional retirement journey

When it comes to retirement, it’s key to focus on the journey, not just getting there, said Jean-Pascal Plamondon, national director of client relationship and investment strategies at Desjardins Insurance.

For defined contribution plan sponsors, this means understanding the traditional savings journey is no longer 100 per cent focused on retirement, it’s also focused on financial wellness along the way, he said during a session at Benefits Canada’s 2019 DC Plan Summit in Banff, Alta. in February.

Since distinct generations in the workforce have different financial priorities and realities, the way they think about retirement also differs, he added. Plan sponsors can take an approach focused on managing both short- and long-term goals and engaging employees early, said Plamondon. “The idea here is really to identify strategies that will evolve over time.”

Read: Using plan design to drive better outcomes for DC plan members

These approaches can include creating employee ambassadors and using non-retirement language to engage members with retirement, he said. DC plan sponsors can also leverage data to help understand members’ needs and change plan design and offerings to fit a more mobile workforce.

All these changes to modernize the DC plan experience can help shift the conversation with employees. “We need to get members engaged along the way, and [I] also think we probably have to think about redefining what retirement is,” said Plamondon.

Read more coverage from the 2019 DC Plan Summit.