June 6, 2011

Putnam's ‘Impulse Saver’ iPhone App Can Boost 401(k) Plan Balances

Comparison shoppers can use app to boost 401(k) retirement accounts

Putnam Investments on Monday launched a PriceCheck&Save iPhone app to help its 401(k) plan participants figure out exactly how their spending habits impact their savings—and then use that knowledge to boost their retirement dollars.

The app lets Putnam 401(k) participants use their iPhone cameras to scan the bar code of most sales items to register the price of the item, comparison-shop across other retailers to seek a lower cost, see the potential cost savings in terms of future monthly income in retirement and immediately direct the price differential to the individual’s 401(k) account, according to a Putnam news release.

“Putnam’s PriceCheck&Save app is a powerful new way to demonstrate the eye-opening trade-off between spending today and its future financial impact on an individual’s retirement – translated through the critically-important language of income,” said Edmund Murphy, head of Putnam Investments’ defined contribution unit, in a statement. “By using leading mobile technology, we are trying to change behavior from impulse spending to impulse saving – all with a few taps on their iPhone.”

In earlier Putnam retirement news, Putnam conducted a survey to track how its Lifetime Income Analysis Tool helps advisors and their clients model how much monthly income their savings might generate in retirement and determine whether investors are on track to maintain their current lifestyle once they stop working. Early use by participants in Putnam-managed 401(k) plans, the company reported, shows that a significant number of employees changed their savings deferral rates after using the tool.

Putnam says that at the end of December 2010, nearly 34% of 401(k) participants who interacted with the firm’s Lifetime Income Analysis Tool made changes to the amount of income they deferred to retirement savings; 80% of the changes were deferral increases; and the average savings rate increase was approximately 23%, from 7% of income to 8.6 %. The figures are based on initial results, which confirms the research that was instrumental in creating the tool, according to Putnam.

Read ‘New Apps From Fidelity, Pershing, Schwab Introduce Mobile Check Deposit, Expansion to Android’ at AdvisorOne.com.

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