When it comes to retirement planning, credit unions can lead by example, according to CUNA Mutual Group
Retirement planning is a pervasive topic in the financial services industry, precisely because it is so important. While it may seem obvious to steer members in the right direction, credit union employees, partners and advocates require retirement planning support as much as anyone.
As the retirement field continues to shift from employer-sponsored pensions to private 401(k) plans, the burden increasingly lies with individuals to have the knowledge, discipline and foresight to save enough for their golden years.
Studies show that nearly half of all Americans—a figure that includes credit union employees—would struggle to pay a $400 emergency expense. According to CUNA Mutual Group, credit union leaders have the responsibility to help our employees take positive, meaningful steps toward financial success.
These steps would include educating employees through programs like the National Credit Union Foundation’s Retirement Fair.
Internally, CUNA Mutual Group encourages employees to use BenefitsForYou, which puts every employees’ 401(k) information and documents into one place, alongside educational resources and a simple, adjustable graph that shows whether they’re on track to retire at their target age with their target replacement income. Old 401(k)s from previous employers, pension plans and spouse benefits can also be added.
“We do this because helping our employees build financial security is not just the smart thing to do; it’s the right thing,” said Jennifer Norr, VP of marketing and strategy for CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions. “It’s a win-win. Employees that are more certain of their financial future will be more productive, have higher work satisfaction and deliver increased customer service. In fact, employees with financial stress are five times more likely to be distracted at work, and twice as likely to miss work because of personal financial issues.”
Ultimately, she said, credit unions have a social mission to strengthen the financial health of members and their communities, and that should start with employees.