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4 Tips for Taking Retirement Education Virtual

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What You Need to Know

  • Communicate your goals clearly.
  • Get your partners to help you.
  • Present clear calls to action.

As pandemic-related economic worries pushed financial concerns to the forefront and more Americans began thinking about working with a financial advisor for retirement-planning (43%), we, at Nevada’s colleges and universities, ramped up efforts to keep employees’ retirement savings on track.

To respond to growing interest and to help educate participants about how to take full advantage of the retirement benefits they’re offered, we teamed up with TIAA in February to host a virtual retirement week.

During a year of challenge and turmoil, I was proud to lead the Nevada system’s unwavering support of retirement education. This initiative attracted more than 2,000 attendees.

If you’re looking for a new approach to retirement education — or any virtual retirement event — consider these four tips from our latest event:

1. Communicate your goals clearly and leverage your partners.

By identifying the right partners to work with — and clearly communicating your expectations for the event — you can maximize your impact and emphasize the host of solutions available to your participants.

We were determined to ensure their participants were making informed decisions and aware of their options, even amid the stresses of global pandemic. By partnering with our retirement services provider, we had an abundance of resources on hand as well as 14 additional teammates with whom to coordinate and execute the virtual retirement week.

2. Get creative in your approach.

Zoom fatigue is real, but a mixture of more formal, hosted sessions and informal office hours can boost engagement.

Without the option of in-person events, we leveraged technology and creativity to bring critical retirement information and insights directly into their plan participants’ homes. Sessions were informative, timely, comprehensive — and most importantly, digestible, just two hour-long sessions each day — one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Participants learned about all of their retirement options, from the basics of retirement planning to more nuanced, plan-specific retirement considerations.

3. Offer various options so people can engage in ways they prefer.

Keep the Zoom chat open, and schedule time for informal drop-ins so participants can ask questions as they’re most comfortable. We know that everyone receives information differently and so we created the agenda with a focus on opportunities for varying types of engagement opportunities.

The sessions featured live speakers during every event — nothing was pre-recorded — so it was engaging and fostered greater dialogue. What’s more, financial consultants hosted lunchtime office hours throughout the course of the virtual retirement week. Participants were encouraged to “drop in” to a Zoom room and ask any questions about their retirement to participating consultants. For participants who were not able to attend any given session, the sessions were captured and recorded for replay.

4. Make it personal with clear calls to action.

Retirement can seem abstract, especially for those who are just beginning their retirement journey. By making the event sessions tangible, with specific cases studies and information designed specifically for your participants, you can bring “retirement to life” and encourage folks to feel empowered to act on their financial futures.

Michelle-KelleyMichelle Kelley is director, retirement plan administration, for the Nevada System of Higher Education.


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