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As we talk to plan participants this fall, it’s apparent that they’re awash with uncertainty. Throughout the last couple of months – before, during, and after the election – the markets have been trying to tell participants that they shouldn’t be as worried. This isn’t to say we won’t experience choppiness and bad days in the months ahead, but 2020 has certainly rewarded those plan participants who have stuck to their plan and remained in the market.

This begs the question: how can plan sponsors help their employees to reestablish a sense of confidence? This question runs parallel to what the plan sponsors (as entities) are facing themselves – after months of just getting by in 2020, how do we shift our focus to the long-term yet still manage the short-term needs and uncertainties? Retirement plan participants need financial wellness education that provides that same balance. They need to remain mindful of their long-term savings needs and goals, while also having in place a financial foundation that provides comfort in the face of short-term hardships and uncertainty.

Employees also need their employers to resist the temptation to push off all education sessions until things return to “normal”. For many companies and people, there’s no going back to exactly how things were. A company’s employees may be spread among their business’s locations, home offices, spare bedrooms, kitchens, garages, or anywhere else they can get away. But let’s not let this slow us from helping participants to reestablish their confidence, to regain some certainty, and to establish a balance between their short- and long-term needs. I’m proud of the manner in which QPA and Financial Fitness for Life educators have adapted to implement the technology to allow that to happen across the country. Even more, though, I’m proud of our clients for buying in and making proactive choices to ensure their employees have the resources they need. As we move toward the new year, let’s keep it up. Time’s a wastin’.

Matthew Eickman
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