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Retirement Plan Words of the Year

Think of all the articles that have been published this year. What do you think are the top-trending retirement plan words?

This is important for retirement plan advisors to know about because plan sponsors are searching the internet for these specific words. By updating your website with key search terms, you can drive more organic and local traffic to your business.

So let’s talk about the 2017 Retirement Plan Words of the Year.

Financial Wellness vs. Retirement Readiness

Which of these two terms do you think is searched for more? Here’s a hint.

The winner: financial wellness! You may be surprised to learn that in a recent Aon Hewitt study,[1. “2016 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Well-Being,” Aon Hewitt.] nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) employers indicated they are very or moderately likely to add tools, services or communications to expand their focus on financial well-being.

Take advantage of this information. By updating your site with a blog article, infographic, dedicated webpage and/or additional content, you can provide timely information to that visiting plan sponsor. Educate them on the type(s) of financial wellness program(s) that you can bring to their company to motivate and inspire financially fit employees.

Auto-Enrollment and Auto-Escalation

Even though auto-enrollment and auto-escalation provisions are both part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, one caught on much faster. Can you guess which one?

It’s auto-enrollment.

As a retirement plan advisor, you have the ability to influence plan sponsors to adopt the auto-enrollment feature. Interestingly, the national average for the auto-enrollment feature is only 57.5%, according to the PSCA.[2. “PSCA Releases Results of 59th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans,” Plan Sponsor Council of America. December 2016.] One idea is to look at plans in your area that do not offer auto-enrollment and speak with the plan sponsor about updating to an eligible automatic enrollment arrangement (EACA) plan.

Or – if you are looking to get a little fancy with both auto-enrollment and auto-escalation – maybe discuss a QACA, which is an alternative “safe harbor” idea that has auto-enrollment, auto-escalation and additional features. For more information and to learn if this might be an appropriate strategy, read more here.

Looking ahead to the future, I was at a recent conference and heard a speaker mention the term “express enrollment” and I just thought that was brilliant. It sounds so easy — express. We live in the instant world; why wouldn’t we offer an “Express” 401(k) Plan? However, we might not live in that vernacular world yet. This might be a contender for the 2018 Buzzword of the Year. (What are your thoughts? How do you think this sounds? Please share your ideas and comments below.)

Read more commentary by Rebecca Hourihan here

Are you ready for the granddaddy of them all? Give it one guess.

If you said “fiduciary,” you get a gold star! It certainly has been the year of the fiduciary. From the DOL conflict-of-interest rule and the ping-pong back-and-forth of release, delay, release, and delay again, our industry has seen a spotlight on the word fiduciary.

For next-step action items to help improve your 401(k) influence, update your website with these three key search terms. Promote each section in a blog article, standalone page, infographic and/or video. These are topics that are top-of-mind with employers. So as they are Googling and searching for information, this will help your firm stand out as the local retirement plan expert.

Two last questions: First, based on your experience, what other words have you heard this year that are current? And second, what words do you think will be trending in 2018 and beyond?

Thanks and Happy Marketing!

Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the founder and CMO of 401(k) Marketing.