Employers and advisors can use technology to create more opportunities for engagement, and plan sponsors can use plans to encourage participants to take proactive steps towards financial health and retirement. Technology can also make available to participants the budgeting and planning tools necessary to build, grow and track their income, spending, saving and investing over time.

The researchers also recommended the adoption of both automatic enrollment and automatic escalation within retirement plans to increase participation and boost savings rates. They also called for a greater adoption of target-date funds as default investment options within retirement plans.

Finally, the report’s authors call for the inclusion of more lifetime income options—including annuity products— in the defined-contribution plan space. They note that because of unisex pricing, annuities offer a better deal to women, with their longer life expectancy, than men. Nearly three-quarters of female defined-contribution plan participants identified a guaranteed lifetime income option as an important feature of a plan.

Researchers at Prudential analyzed census, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security and Prudential’s own retirement data for their report.

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