For many, January comes with a focus on making resolutions for the new year. Most often, these resolutions are about health. Statista reports that the top three resolutions for 2023 are about physical well-being, with people wanting to exercise more, eat healthier and lose weight.
The fourth most popular resolution is also about health, although it’s a different kind of health—it surrounds financial health. People want to save more money in 2023.
January is Financial Wellness month, a perfect time to help individuals start a plan to achieve their resolution and improve their overall financial health. And help is unquestionably needed. Saving money is a wonderful goal, but it isn’t always easy. Inflation is impacting the costs of basics like food and energy, mortgage rates have increased significantly, and many families are already carrying significant debt burdens. It can be complicated and even daunting to know where to begin.
Finding information on saving money and planning for a more secure financial future seems easy enough. There are a plethora of articles and advice columns and top ten lists that can be found online. But are they the right articles? Are they relevant to the individual and each person’s unique financial situation and capabilities?
Investment managers, advisors and plan sponsors/administrators are well-positioned to play a significant role by educating and supporting people, allowing them to gain confidence and take control of their actions. But unless content is personalized to the circumstances, ability and knowledge of each individual, you might be doing more harm than help.
Financial language can be unfamiliar or full of jargon, and as everyone’s situations differ, assumptions about economic means and ability can be completely off-base. Trying to craft a one-size-fits-all newsletter or article can end up being too generic and sometimes the opposite of helpful. All of this can lead to confusion at best and alienation at worst. Which is the exact opposite outcome of helping people to save more.
What To Do?
If you want to positively impact investor behavior and outcomes, you need a flexible solution that delivers a compelling—and tailored—user experience. A tailored user experience requires robust, individualized content, and it should be accessible to individuals how they want (online, mobile device, text or video format), and when they want. Content should include:
- Educational topics, articles and videos that address the changing needs and varying realities across all life stages.
- Gamification and interactive quizzes, challenges, curriculum and milestones that align with savers’ profiles, needs and interests.
- Helpful visual tools and charts that inform investors if they are on track to meet financial goals, along with supportive suggestions of what they might change.
- The ability to aggregate assets across a range of accounts to obtain the most complete financial picture.
- Robust budgeting and savings resources.
SS&C Retirement’s financial wellness solutions offer materials to fit every investor’s unique journey. Our options also ensure that personalization extends to investment managers, advisors, and plan sponsors/administrators through the ability to adopt a range of branded, compliant modules that fit your business structure and budget. Portals are mobile-responsive, including tagging for ADA accessibility. Solutions can be configured in multiple ways:
- Education OnDemand: Access to a robust content library with thousands of articles, hundreds of calculators, video and tutorial libraries and a wide range of life-stage topics. New content is regularly generated.
- Personalized Financial Wellness Center: A fully hosted wellness site with all articles, videos, and educational modules including quizzes and point-based games to better engage users. An account aggregator module allows users to set budgets and track spending patterns across accounts, including a robust call-to-action engine that drives them to their next best action. The Personalized Wellness Center also has extensive reporting on users’ interactions and their progress, along with analytics to assess what content is the most popular and what questions users are asking.
From Resolution to Habit
Making a resolution is one thing, but turning it into a habit is another. Inc. magazine reports that 91% of all New Year’s resolutions fail, and approximately 80% of people will have dropped their resolutions by the second week of February. Lack of success isn’t necessarily due to how big or small the goal is—it’s because people don’t develop habits that help them meet their goal. Goals need to be specific, with small but measurable steps to help drive a sense of accomplishment and possibility. As well, accountability helps. Having feedback on progress can provide the motivation to stick with it.
SS&C can help you assist savers in setting realistic savings goals that are personalized, measurable, actionable and achievable. Together, we can help build a plan to make saving a lifelong achievement. Learn more about Financial Wellness in our "Why Data-Driven, Personalized Solutions are an Imperative for the Retirement Industry" whitepaper.
Written by Anne Hebard-Duduch
Strategic Client Relationships, SS&C Retirement Solutions