The OPSEU Pension Trust is supporting employees’ and plan members’ financial literacy with its defined benefit pension education program and extensive member communications.
“We run a program called People for Pensions, an education program focused on articulating the value of defined benefit pensions and not just the benefit they provide to people who have them, but also to the broader community, the economy and employers that offer them,” says Jason White, senior public affairs advisor at the OPTrust.
Before launching People for Pensions, the OPTrust did some research within its employee base and membership and found, while plan members valued the pension, a lot of them didn’t know much about the DB model itself, notes White, adding the program was built as a distinct brand to allow the pension fund to expand its resources and talk to different organizations.
Beyond the education program, the OPTrust is posting financial literacy information on its social media, which will also be referenced in communications throughout the month. And amid the current economic environment, it’s also reminding members their pension plan is indexed to inflation.
“We want to make sure our members have an understanding of what we’re providing them, so we use a lot of direct member communication,” says White. “We have newsletters that go out to our active members as well as our retirees and online services for members to access [pension information].”
He believes financial literacy is an important factor throughout an employee’s career, especially at the beginning when most workers aren’t focused on retirement. “For a lot of us when we start our careers, retirement seems like an impossibly long time away. The trouble is that it’s also kind of the most important time to start learning and planning for retirement because time is on your side. Time has an incredible compounding factor when it comes to retirement, which is really one of the strengths of the DB model and what we do.”