2019 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing

Jan 22, 2019 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

Alight, a provider of workplace health and wealth solutions, has published a new report that looks back at 15 years of surveying employers about the benefits they offer. You can find the 2019 report here. A brief summary follows.

Over the last decade, very much has changed: The economy underwent a recession and a recovery, our mobile devices evolved from phones to pocket-sized computers, and millennials have surpassed baby boomers as America’s largest generation. These changes came along with shifts in the employer benefits space—particularly as they relate to retirement plans. When we compare today’s data to some of the headlines from our Hot Topics reports that were issued five, 10 and 15 years ago, we find that many employer concerns have vanished, while other thoughts have evolved into new initiatives.

This year, three themes emerged:

  1. Financial wellbeing programs will continue to expand. From helping new-to-the-workforce individuals pay off their student loans to assisting near-retirees with navigating the retirement process, employers are offering a bevy of tools, resources and educational campaigns designed to help workers gain more solid financial footing.
  2. Employers are focused on having participants keep their money in the defined contribution plan. Whether by expanding the lifetime income options in the plan or by dissuading workers from taking loans against their balances, employers are seeking ways to keep assets in the DC plan.
  3. Most employers are vigilantly trying to locate missing participants. Employers use several methods—from address searches to first-class U.S. mail to phone outreach—to try and contact individuals who have benefits due to them. Moreover, employers often try to contact these missing participants multiple times; for example, when the person is reaching milestone benefit dates like normal retirement age or age 70½.


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