Boston– John Hancock Retirement Plan Services recently unveiled two new initiatives aimed at helping 401(k) participants achieve a comfortable retirement.
One is a campaign called ‘Set a Goal’, which encourages participants to develop detailed savings objectives. The other is a unique post-enrollment education program called ‘EZRoute’, which helps empower participants as they plan for retirement.
“We know from our research that participants who set goals feel more confident and save more for their retirement,” said Ralph Vizl, Vice President, Product Development and Management. “We also know that plan sponsors and financial representatives want and need easy and effective materials to continue the education that begins with enrollment in the plan. With EZRoute, we’ve given them the tools to help them help participants to achieve their retirement goals.”
Set a Goal Campaign
Research indicates that participants who set a goal save more toward retirement and feel more comfortable about their long-term financial prospects.1 As part of ‘Set a Goal,’ participants receive an Annual Review kit along with their Q1 statements. This unique and easy to use kit includes a questionnaire that takes fewer than ten minutes for participants to complete. The kit walks participants through the process of setting a retirement goal. They simply complete the questionnaire and return it to John Hancock. A few weeks later, they receive a one-page, personalized action plan built around their specific retirement goals. Participants also have the option of logging on to their account where they can complete the survey online and receive their action plan immediately.
The campaign which was piloted last year and rolled out in full in 2007 is proving to be a success. Participants from more than 1,000 plans have submitted their Annual Reviews in the first ten weeks of release.
This year, users also had access to an online ‘increasing contributions’ calculator.2 This handy tool lets them choose a contribution amount and automatically see how much it would be worth after five years. (http://communications.jhpensions.com/sagp/).
Another popular feature was a website launched for financial representatives. The site provides PDFs of the ‘Set a Goal’ marketing materials. It also allows financial representatives to identify contracts where participants are either less engaged or highly-engaged, so they may take appropriate action from a sales perspective.
As part of another initiative to encourage participants to save for retirement, JHRPS recently launched a post-enrollment education program called EZRoute. EZRoute is comprised of four distinct modules, focusing on different sets of participant needs. Within these modules are seminars and workbooks that teach essential skills related to effective retirement planning.
One of the most popular components of the program is a piece called ‘Be Prepared for Emergencies’. Participants record all their important financial information in one place to help with emergency preparedness. This summary, also used successfully elsewhere at John Hancock, helps participants be ready in the event of an emergency and also helps financial representatives better understand their clients’ needs.
About John Hancock Retirement Plan Services
Amongst mutual fund, life insurance companies and banks, JHRPS is ranked as the #1 provider to 401(k) plans based on number of 401(k) plans managed as of 12/31/06, according CFO Magazine. (CFO Magazine 401(k) Buyers Guide Study, published May 2007.)
About John Hancock and Manulife Financial
John Hancock is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation (the Company), a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$410 billion (US$386 billion) as at June 30, 2007.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.
The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including whole life, term life, variable life, and universal life insurance, as well as college savings products, fixed and variable annuities, long-term care insurance, mutual funds and various forms of business insurance.
Group annuity contracts are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) (John Hancock USA). John Hancock Investment Management Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser, provides investment information relating to the contract.
12005 John Hancock Retirement Plan Investing Survey prepared by Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc.
2Calculators are for educational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal or investment advice.
©2007. John Hancock. All rights reserved.
SOURCE: John Hancock Retirement Plan Services
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Melissa Simon Berczuk