Schwab Retirement Plan Services announced today the launch of an interactive, online dashboard designed to help retirement plan participants save and invest. My Financial Guide walks participants through a financial health assessment using straightforward questions most workers can answer without having to look at their financial records. The guide helps create a custom plan with clear steps to work toward their specific goals.
"My Financial Guide was developed through extensive research and user testing to give workers the power to take control of their financial situations on their own terms," said Nathan Voris, Director, Schwab Retirement Plan Services. "We know workers want help with their finances, but many are confused by industry jargon and find it difficult to start the planning process. This interactive experience was designed to help meet their expressed needs and complement other educational resources and tools we provide to employers who want to offer competitive benefits and help employees save and invest for the future."
Workers take control of their finances
Schwab Retirement Plans Services' annual survey of 401(k) participants found that workers want more help saving and planning for retirement 1. Six in ten participants (61%) think their financial situation warrants professional advice this year, an increase from 50% in 2020. My Financial Guide responds to these needs with modules on critical topics that retirement plan participants frequently want help addressing, including:
- Emergency Savings -educates participants on why preparing for the unforeseen is an integral step toward achieving financial goals
- Debt -teaches participants how to manage debt and build repayment strategies
- Insurance -details how participants can protect themselves and their finances from the unexpected
- Estate Planning -explores ways to help guide how a participant's assets are handled when the time comes
Each topic can be accessed independently so that employees can work on the financial areas they care about most, at their own pace. Modules cut through financial jargon to help provide education as well as simple next steps. For example, the insurance checklist contains definitions of basic terms in addition to considerations for major insurance types and step-by-step guides to explore coverage options to help determine if they meet financial goals.
"My Financial Guide covers critical areas that employees say they want help with from their workplace, delivered through a modern, intuitive user experience that reflects our commitment to digital innovation that drives engagement," continued Voris.
Designing around employee needs
Working with experts in Schwab Digital Services' Innovation Lab, teams conducted extensive user testing to see financial challenges through the eyes of real participants. Three critical insights emerged from this process:
- Workers' financial lives change over time, so the support they receive should too.
- Many workers feel they are not worthy of a financial plan, which they view as difficult to make.
- Workers prefer support on their own terms, meaning where, when and how it best fits their goals and lifestyle.
My Financial Guide prompts users to provide information such as marital status and household income that drives customized visuals, next steps and goal setting. For example, the landing page includes a prominent "Small steps for you" section, designed to help workers make incremental progress towards their financial goals without becoming overwhelmed.
Behavioral economics drives much of the guide's interactivity. The Emergency Savings module, for example, helps encourage participants to take action by drawing on goal gradient theory, which shows that motivation increases as individuals believe they are closer to achieving a goal. Participants see their emergency savings goal mapped out with a percentage progress bar, monthly savings amount, and the next six-month milestone. They can use sliders to shorten the timeframe further to see monthly goals and progress. Even if long-term progress is small, being on the verge of a short-term success may help keep participants motivated.
At the end of each module, participants receive a personalized checklist of next steps based on their inputs and can check on their guide periodically to track progress against goals and update their information in response to any major changes. My Financial Guide also includes options for participants to obtain financial coaching and get connected with tools, additional guidance, and resources beyond their workplace plan to help address broader financial goals.
"Many workers prefer a do-it-yourself planning option if the interface is intuitive and the next best actions are clear," said Voris. "We also know that workers often don't have the time or resources to complete the planning process on their own. My Financial Guide's modular, personalized approach incorporates human coaches so that participants can receive support the way they want it while focusing on improving their financial health."
In addition, clients of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. who have brokerage accounts can receive a complimentary financial plan 2 for needs beyond their workplace plan.
About Charles Schwab
At Charles Schwab, we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients' goals with passion and integrity.
1 2021 401(k) Participant Study. June 2021. This online survey of U.S. 401(k) participants was conducted by Logica Research for Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. Logica Research is neither affiliated with, nor employed by, Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. The survey is based on 1,000 interviews. Survey respondents were actively employed by companies with at least 25 employees, were 401(k) plan participants and were 21-70 years old. For past surveys, respondents were 25 to 70 years old, so for comparing 2021 results to previous waves, the data was rebased on those aged 25 to 70. Survey respondents were not asked to indicate whether they had 401(k) accounts with Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. All data is self-reported by study participants and is not verified or validated. Respondents participated in the study between April 1 and April 15, 2021.
Outcomes are not guaranteed.
2 Schwab Plan is available to clients at no cost, but any investments you ultimately make may incur costs such as advisory fees.
Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. and Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ("Schwab") are separate but affiliated companies and subsidiaries of The Charles Schwab Corporation. Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. provides recordkeeping and related services with respect to retirement plans. Brokerage products and services are offered by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Through its operating subsidiaries, The Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW) - Get Charles Schwab Corporation Report provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ( member SIPC, www.sipc.org), and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; compliance and trade monitoring solutions; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through Schwab Advisor Services. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank, SSB (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides banking and lending services and products. More information is available at www.schwab.com and www.aboutschwab.com.
© 2021 Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc.
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