In the ongoing battle to improve retirement outcomes forworkers, providers and recordkeepers are coming upwith innovations designed to engage and assist employees inbettering their results.

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Read: Estimating retirement needs a tough job formost Americans

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The latest of these is a Web-based tool called “My VirtualCoach” from The Principal Financial Group, an interactive resourcethat uses a human voice and a conversational tone to explain someof the ins and outs of a company’s retirement plan to the user.

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“My Virtual Coach” offers choices and click-and-playexplanations to illustrate various aspects of the employee’sretirement plan, and provides information and guidance as theworker continues on through the enrollment process.

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“From our work with millions of plan participants, we knowindividuals want to make good choices but they don’t always knowwhat actions to take,” Jerry Patterson, senior vice president ofretirement and income solutions at The Principal, said in astatement.

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He added, “People who know more are more confident, andconfident people make good decisions.”

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That’s the idea behind the new interactive tool, which thecompany calls “a personalized enrollment and education experiencefor retirement plan participants.” Participants are walked throughvarious scenarios and can take immediate action as they go throughthe enrollment process.

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The tool can be incorporated into the new hire process forvarious sizes of retirement plans, and can be used by those newhires whether they are remote workers or located at a satelliteoffice far from the employer’s headquarters.

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The new tool is the most recent enhancement to the company’sPrincipal PlanWorks approach to workplace retirement readiness

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