Can Fido and Boots help you save for your retirement? MassMutual thinks they can.
So far, the financial services company based in Springfield, Mass., has prompted retirement savers to put aside an estimated $43 million this year by spotlighting people’s love of their pets.
Sixty percent of Americans have a pet in the family and most people like showing them off almost as much as they like bragging about their kids. MassMutual has started Pet Project at www.retiresmartpets.com/ that allows proud pet parents to show off their pets.
Anyone can post a picture of a pet on the site. Most are dogs and cats, but there are also the occasional snake, horse, mouse and even a pet rock with glasses among the 1,700 pets pictured. Once on the site, visitors are encouraged to open a retirement plan savings account through an employer that uses MassMutual or to add to an existing one.
Nearly 23,000 people opened or increased contributions to a retirement plan from March, when the campaign started, through May, which is a record ad campaign response rate at MassMutual. The extra savings should amount to $43 million by the end of this year and the campaign is continuing.
“Something else to chew on: The American Pet Products Association reports that Americans spent more than $60 billion on pets in 2015. That’s an important consideration given that Americans are $7.7 trillion short of saving what they need to retire comfortably, according to the Retirement Research Center,” says MassMutual.
“With three out of five Americans owning pets, there is no doubt that we are a nation that loves animals of every shape, size and variety,” says Kris Rice, MassMutual vice president, marketing. “By connecting to something that is top of mind for consumers, our campaign is encouraging retirement plan participants to boost their savings.”
Visitors to the site are connected to educational material about the importance of saving for retirement and how to go about it.
“Just like a pet, your retirement plan needs care, nurturing and your attention,” the site explains. Retirement savers are encouraged to sign up for their 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan, save more for retirement by boosting their current salary contribution, consolidate two or more retirement plans with different employers, or allocate their current investment mix to better meet their objectives.
“MassMutual hopes that by connecting Americans to something important in the present – loving their pets – they will be motivated to connect to something important for the future – saving for retirement,” Rice says. “Doing so will hopefully create a better future for both our savers and their pets.”