We all know America has a saving problem. As a country, we'reunderprepared for retirement, and what's worse is we aren'tmaking much progress. Our research on employee financial issues has repeatedly shown morethan 80 percent of employees don't know if they are on track toretire comfortably. To combat the problem, the AmericanSavings Education Council launched America Saves Week in 2007.Since then, the last week of February has been dedicated to helpingAmericans save for the future. This year, from Feb. 20, through the27, individuals will be encouraged to assess their savingsprogress, develop better saving habits and advance theirpreparedness for retirement.

Why is this important to plan providers? Because America SavesWeek is an opportunity to help participants understand how theirbenefits can help them achieve their financial goals. Employees arestruggling with how to handle their employer's switch toself-directed benefits and health care changes and have been askingfor help.

Here are some things you can do during America Saves Week tohelp participants reach their retirement and other savingsgoals:

  • Ask your clients if they plan to host a FinancialWellness Fair. If so, host a booth to help employees withquestions about their plans. Encourage your clients to invite otherbusinesses that offer important services like local banks, creditunions and the nearest Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
  • Provide participants with unbiasedinformation. Employees tend to trust third-partyresources, so work with unbiased educators to provide financial andbenefits guidance and help increase participation in yourclients' plans. Educators can help by hosting retirement workshopsor one-on-one financial planning sessions, encouraging employees tosave.
  • Talk about America Saves Week. Get creativeand communicate ideas, tips and helpful resources through payrollstuffers and e-mail blasts. Market any special events to increaseawareness and get employees talking.

There are many ways plan providers can help employees save more.Show your participants you care about their future and theirretirement goals, but don't stop with just one week out of theyear--help them all year long.

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