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National Retirement Planning Week Offers Critical Tools for Advisors

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With older working Americans needing retirement advice more than ever, financial planners can take advantage of a wealth of tools and resources being made available for National Retirement Planning Week, which runs April 7-11.

The event is a national effort to encourage Americans to plan for their financial needs in retirement. week has been observed annually since 2002, and it is targeted to both professional advisors and consumers.

“The theme of this year’s event is ‘Retire on your terms: Start planning your future,” said Danielle Holland, senior vice president of communication with the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), which is spearheading the event. The IRI is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to discussion, advocacy and education around retirement planning and retirement income issues. A number of prominent education, consumer advocacy and financial services organizations are also taking part in planning and sponsoring the effort.

The immediate goals of this year’s week-long event are to engage consumers to start thinking about retirement, and to convince them to engage with professional advisors on how to best plan for that event.

“As we started to do research after the recession, we started to see a decline in the confidence level of workers about retirement,” Holland said. “The retirement age is being pushed back, and more people expect to work in their retirement.”

“While Baby Boomers have redefined life at every corner, their lasting legacy may be in how Americans prepare for their retirement years. Through the course of their working years, a unique set of challenges has emerged, including changes in employee benefits, longer life spans, uncertainty with Social Security and Medicare, as well as rising cost of health care. As a result, preparing for and financing one’s retirement is now increasingly difficult, with more Americans shouldering the burdens themselves. This new paradigm is largely responsible for the confidence observed among Baby Boomers,” stated a prepared statement for National Retirement Planning Week.

A declining confidence and growing thirst for information

While it has been well publicized that today’s older workers are less prepared financially for retirement than the generation before them, there is at least one piece of good news on the retirement front, Holland says: these soon-to-be retirees are hungry for information and open to advice.

IRI research finds that workers want to “get back on track” with their retirement plans, to make up for lost time or lost earnings, and to work with financial advisors, Holland says.

All of which make National Retirement Planning Week the perfect opportunity for financial planners to get the word out on retirement issues in general, and how they can help clients in their individual journey to and through retirement.

Aiding in the effort will be a major public awareness campaign leading up to and throughout the week-long observance. Web site resources and promotional materials are being made available to financial planners; the IRI hopes they will be used along with a firm’s own activities.

Tapping National Retirement Planning Week resources

Among the resources and materials that retirement planners will want to avail themselves are the following:

Retire on Your Terms web site: The main web site for the week-long celebration explains what it is all about, defines the current retirement readiness landscape, and offers links to a number of helpful resources for retirement planners and advice to consumers.

Ways to Participate tips: This resource is targeted to financial planners, and features a checklist of 15 activities that advisors can do to promote the week observance, retirement planning issues in general, or the services that they can help with. Advice includes how to deal with the local media, advice on writing press releases, crafting communications and public service announcements, and providing tips to consumers.

Social Media Plan advice: National Retirement Planning Week coalition partners are asked to help spread the work about retirement planning and savings during the week of April 7-11 via Twitter and Facebook. The IRI encourages all partners to tweet the posts offered on this social media plan as well as to post their own retirement planning and retirement savings tips. The social media plan offers suggested Twitter and Facebook topics for each day of that week.

Sample Op-Ed about Five tips for Building Retirement Security: This is a sample guest editorial that retirement planners can use with their local media outlets. The document is complete, and requires no additional material. It explains what National Retirement Planning is all about; discusses the current state of retirement readiness in this country; and encourages consumers to “develop, review and/or revise their current retirement plans.”

Stock news release for companies support the event: The IRI has prepared a stock press release that companies can use to announce their participation in the National Retirement Planning Week observance. Similar to the Op-Ed above, this press release outlines the goal of the week, and discusses the challenges faced by Americans today is preparing for retirement. The press release points advisors and consumers to the Retire on Your Terms web site, and discusses the educational materials and resources that are available. Instructions are clearly highlighted on where in the text an individual financial advisory firm needs to insert its own information, such as company name and advisor, and individual activities planned.

Stock newsletter copy for newsletter briefs: For the benefit of financial advisors that produce a newsletter, the IRI has prepared a shorter newsletter brief that you can use. Similar in format to the stock news release, the newsletter brief covers the same basic information, but in shorter form (four paragraphs).

All of these resources are intended to make National Retirement Planning Week as successful as last year’s event, which “reached over 100 million consumers through national engagement tools,” Holland says.

“Consumers are being much more aware of the need to do something more around their retirement,” Holland said. “The hope is that this takes it to the next level – offering the tips, the tools and the information they need.”


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