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New online tool aimed at ''coaching'' workers on retirement plans

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In the ongoing battle to improve retirement outcomes for workers, providers and recordkeepers are coming up with innovations designed to engage and assist employees in bettering their results.

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

“My Virtual Coach” offers choices and click-and-play explanations to illustrate various aspects of the employee’s retirement plan, and provides information and guidance as the worker continues on through the enrollment process.

“From our work with millions of plan participants, we know individuals want to make good choices but they don’t always know what actions to take,” Jerry Patterson, senior vice president of retirement and income solutions at The Principal, said in a statement.

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

That’s the idea behind the new interactive tool, which the company calls “a personalized enrollment and education experience for retirement plan participants.” Participants are walked through various scenarios and can take immediate action as they go through the enrollment process.

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

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

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