It’s not in the U.S. yet, but a new app for Alexa could boost pension savings engagement in the U.K.
According to a report from Finextra, a new app from U.K. insurer and pension provider Aviva lets U.K. customers ask Amazon’s Alexa how much they have in their retirement savings account.
Says the report, “Customers registered on MyAviva can link the skill to their Alexa account and then ask the voice assistant to tell them the value of their pension pot.”
People are already pretty dependent on the apps that track their fitness, place grocery orders and remind them of everything from doctor’s appointments to the kids’ sports practices; why would an app be needed to track retirement savings?
Engagement. Effectiveness. Timeliness. In his HBR article “How Digital Tools and Behavioral Economics Will Save Retirement,” Shlomo Benartzi, UCLA professor, researcher, and colleague of Nobel prizewinner Richard Thaler points to new research showing the ineffectiveness of many financial education programs. Simply put, adults forget to apply the knowledge that they learned months or years ago to their present situation. “The just-in-time financial information provided by a good app can solve this timing issue, providing us with crucial information when we need it the most,” Benartzi writes.
In addition to its Alexa app for British retirement savers, an Aviva survey reveals that Brits, like many people in the U.S., aren’t sufficiently engaged with their retirement savings.
The survey found that a third of respondents say they check their pension balance once a year, while 21 percent don’t even bother to do it that often. Just one out of 20 say they check that balance daily.
Asked what would make them more involved in socking money away for retirement, fully 33 percent said they’d like to have easier ways to access their balance, such as via a mobile app—the second most popular answer.
So maybe people are hooked on apps as the easiest way to get things done. “The new Aviva skill transforms the way people can connect with their pension, allowing them to effortlessly find out their latest pension value from the comfort of their home,” says Blair Turnbull, MD, U.K. and international, digital, Aviva, is quoted saying.
Turnbull adds, “Increasing people’s interest in pension saving will only happen if we make it easy for them to check on their progress. The Aviva Alexa skill and our MyAviva app can really help people take control of their retirement planning.”
Considering that Aviva Canada has already come up with an Alexa app that lets customers get quotes on car insurance, it’s probably only a matter of time till the pension app becomes more widespread.