Financial advisors should help workplace retirement plan sponsors extend benefits to retired employees, according to a report issued by Mercer and the Stanford Center on Longevity.
The extended benefits would not be excessively expensive for the employer and would be an exceptional benefit for retiring employees, says Steve Vernon, of the Stanford Center on Longevity and author of the report, How to Increase Your Employees’ Retirement Income. Mercer is a global consultant in talent, health, retirement and investments.
Several methods exist to extend the benefits that exist for employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k) savings plans, into the retirement years, says Vernon. This could be done instead of paying retiring employees a lump sum and expecting them to manage the money on their own.
Financial advisors can play a role by making both plan sponsors and participants aware of these potential benefits, Vernon says.
Employers could allow retiring employees to keep their funds in the company plan to allow them to take advantage of institutional pricing for investments. This could increase a retired employee’s income by 5 percent to 20 percent, the report says.
Systematic withdrawals could be arranged so retirees do not take out too little or too much money from their retirement funds.
Employers also could help by offering an annuity bidding service to give employees access to the best-priced annuities for creating a retirement income.
Employers also could help employees select hybrid products that combine a managed drawdown from retirement funds with longevity insurance.
These types of reforms probably will be adopted after employers finish dealing with health-care changes that are occupying their time currently, the author says.
Some employers have expressed fear that they will have to meet additional fiduciary standards if they adopt these reforms, but Vernon believes that is a matter of perception rather than reality. “Employers have to review plans now to make sure they are suitable. Extending the benefits would not increase their requirements.”