Delivering retirement messages that create an IMPACT

When it comes to informing individuals about their options at retirement, much focus has concentrated on what should be said. This article looks at how messages are delivered to give the greatest IMPACT.

When it comes to informing individuals about their options at retirement, much focus has concentrated on what should be said. As a case in point, the FCA has laid out their final proposals on the information that should be delivered to people reaching retirement. These include ensuring that members have access to annuity comparisons from all providers on the Open Market and that retirement packs should firmly push people towards shopping around, guidance and advice.

These messages and others are vitally important. But unless we are getting those messages across correctly, they could be falling on deaf ears.

Processing information                                    

We have all had that feeling of going somewhere and reaching our destination but not actually remembering anything about the journey. The same could be said for much of the information we are given throughout our day to day lives. Some of it is absorbed, but much passes us by. And if the topic is something we aren’t even considering at the time, there isn’t much chance that it will remembered.

Retirement planning is often not high on employees agendas – even though it should be, so we have to think about how we are getting those messages across to ensure as much as possible sticks.

Different strokes for different folks

If you remember back to a time when you have ever studied for an exam, you will have employed some kind of technique for getting that information firmly into your brain. Did you write copious notes, or jot things down on flash cards? Did you speak aloud and humanize the topic, or did you listen to notes on headphones? Did you prefer to learn in a group talking through the issues or did you pace the floor on your own to digest the facts? We all process information differently, so it would make sense to communicate differently to cater for everyone.

So how do we do this? – Create an IMPACT

Based on this thinking, we have developed a communications strategy, called IMPACT, that aims to maximise the amount of information digested by your pension scheme members, in order that they get the most from their retirement planning - because there is no point delivering retirement education to employees if it is literally going in one ear and out the other.

Our IMPACT communications are also designed to meet and exceed The Pensions Regulator’s 6 principles for improved member outcomes:

Interactive: Interactive tools allow members to personalise their situation and project a vision of what their retirement will be like. Income Vs Expenditure graphs provide a visual representation of what extra funds are available after essential bills have been paid. If funds fall short, members can review their plans – perhaps to continue working, or reassess their outgoings. Members can also compare different retirement solutions, including the tax implications of each, providing a clear insight of how each solution can work best for their needs.

Multi-media: We use a variety of communications methods to appeal to every audience – from written articles, video content, E-learning tools, webinars, social media and blogs. And at any stage, members can always speak to an adviser directly.

Personalised: Communications are personalised and targeted at particular groups – i.e., providing information about Enhanced Annuities to those who are likely to qualify, which mean messages are directed where they are needed most, keeping the member interested and engaged. Our calculators and tools allow the member to envisage exactly what their retirement will be like and what they can expect their financial situation to be, giving them time to take remedial action if necessary.

Appropriate: It is essential that the right messages are delivered to the right people at the right time. We deliver bite sized information at regular intervals, which build up a members knowledge but cuts down on subject fatigue. Our tailored electronic communications programme starts from 5 years before a member intends to take benefits and delivers regular, appropriate information without bombarding the user.

Clear: All our materials are written in plain English and are jargon free, so that every member can clearly understand their options.

Two-way: To counteract apathy, members are reminded at an early stage, and at regular intervals, of the need to plan for their retirement and encouraged to make contact back with a specialist adviser when required.

The thing to remember is that whilst it is important to deliver the right messages about retirement planning, it is essential that those messages are delivered correctly to have the greatest IMPACT from your pension scheme members.