Language and communication can impact the retirement decisions of defined contribution plan members, according to a new survey by Invesco Ltd.
The survey found 60 per cent of all respondents — as well as 50 per cent of millennials and 59 per cent of gen-Xers — would rather achieve retirement “income” than retirement “savings.” Nearly all respondents (94 per cent) said they’re interested in investing some or all of their retirement portfolio in a specific product designed to provide them with a stream of income in retirement. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) said they’d rather receive “slightly lower, regular — but guaranteed — income payments” over their lifetime than “regular income payments for as long as they live but with an additional cost.”
In describing investment menu options, 33 per cent said they preferred descriptive titles such as “do it for me” instead of “tier 1” for target-date funds. Half of respondents (53 per cent) used “portfolio” to describe their investments, compared to “fund” (35 per cent) and “strategy” (12 per cent). And two thirds (63 per cent) of respondents said they prefer investment portfolios described in terms such as “growth focused and stability focused,” versus “aggressive and conservative” (20 per cent) or “high risk and low risk” (18 per cent).
The survey found equal interest among respondents in target-date (51 per cent) and target-risk funds (49 per cent). Those interested in target-risk funds cited the ability to choose a level of risk based on retirement goals instead of age (50 per cent), the option to customize investments based on the potential for gain (28 per cent) and the clarity of financial objectives (23 per cent). More than half (53 per cent) of respondents said their DC plan “plays a supplemental role to other retirement benefits,” compared to 47 per cent who said it “plays a critical role in planning for and funding” their retirement.
And among millennials, 30 per cent said employers should communicate to employees about retirement at age 45 or younger, while 21 per cent said age 55, seven per cent said age 65 and another seven per cent said employers shouldn’t communicate at all. Some 39 per cent of all respondents and 28 per cent of pre-retirees — those within five years of retirement — said they don’t know what their plan allows them to do with their assets at retirement.
In an email to Benefits Canada, Mike Tuira, vice-president of institutional investments at Invesco Canada, said plan sponsors should start communicating based on employees’ age group. “Once the employer does start communicating, 25 per cent of Canadians responded employers should communicate to them through an online portal and 22 per cent stated a meeting. Very different methods with similar response rates means one size doesn’t fit all. To reach all of your members, you need a variety of methods.”