As fiduciaries, we collectively strive to meet the needs of all retirement plan participants—a unique challenge when dealing with multiple generations, income levels, and degrees of financial literacy. While the core tenets of ERISA that govern our role as stewards of retirement plans haven’t changed since 1974, many things around us have changed—demographics, business models, workplace dynamics. Our fiduciary focus—from the balance forward days of the 1980’s and 90’s, through the “funds, fees, and fiduciary” focus of the early 2000’s—continues to evolve, as well. As we look back at 2020 (and what a year it has been!), I’m encouraged by the next wave of fiduciary evolution that will carry us into 2021 and beyond: employee engagement and participant education through financial wellness programming.
The concept of “financial wellness” is not new—in fact, in recent years retirement plan sponsors have been bombarded with products and services that aim to assist in educating plan participants and employees on the importance of saving for retirement and improving their financial well-being. While well-intentioned, the challenge of creating a cohesive program designed to educate and help participants from so many disparate pieces has resulted in many sponsors becoming disengaged themselves from any sort of education or participant engagement initiatives.
Sentinel is proud to launch fly!, our cohesive financial wellness offering aimed at engaging, educating, and improving the financial literacy of the retirement plan participants we serve. Fly! employs a multi-channeled approach, involving group learning, 1:1 guidance, and a thoughtfully curated collection of self-service tools and resources. We understand that different generations prefer different communication mediums; we understand that various life events can dramatically alter the financial needs of participants overnight; and we understand that the events of 2020 have altered where and how employees show up to work, resulting in new challenges with respect to when and how organizations communicate and engage with them. One-size-fits-all no longer works—and as fiduciaries, we must adapt to this changing environment as we seek to engage and educate those who rely on us to help them achieve a secure financial future in retirement.
At Sentinel, we care about how we can help—and through our fly! program we aim to help plan sponsors deliver on their fiduciary commitment to education and engagement, and help plan participants take control of their financial future. We are excited to introduce you to fly! and watch your plan participants spread their wings.