National Retirement Security Month
October 2020

NAGDCA Tip #1:
Participant Communication is Key to Plan Engagement, Retirement Saving Success

Lexington, KY, September 24, 2020— Survey data attests to a looming retirement crisis in which the majority of Americans lack the means to achieve financial security in retirement. National Retirement Security Month, originally conceived as National Retirement Security Week by NAGDCA in 2006, asks employers to make every effort to help Americans take the steps necessary to adequately prepare for their financial security in retirement. NAGDCA is the premier professional association for plan administrators and services providers of government-sponsored defined contribution retirement plans.

“The retirement landscape has changed dramatically over the last several decades. The bottom line for Americans—whether employees in the public or private sector—is that they must become more actively engaged in saving for retirement to achieve and maintain financial security in their post-work lives, both for their personal benefit and for the wellbeing of our nation,” stated NAGDCA Executive Director Matt Petersen. “Unfortunately, this isn’t a simple ‘if you build it, they will come’ situation. Engaging Americans in saving for their retirement requires a concerted awareness-raising effort; the lion’s share of this effort falls to employers.”

As articulated in previous resolutions endorsing National Retirement Security Week, the Senate “calls on States, localities, schools, universities, nonprofit organizations, businesses, other entities, and the people of the United States to observe National Retirement Security Week with appropriate programs and activities, with the goal of increasing the retirement savings and personal financial literacy of all people in the United States, thereby enhancing the retirement security of the people of the United States.”

NAGDCA shares the following keys to crafting effective retirement plan communications culled from members’ winning programs:

  • Interactive and Responsive – Participants need to know they can obtain answers to their questions in a timely manner.
  • Targeted and Relevant – Craft messaging by age demographic, and employment status (active or retired). We all pay closer attention to what we want/need to know. Ask first to be sure you’re giving them what they want to ensure their attention.
  • Medium-Message Matched – There are a wide variety of communication tools available to plan sponsors. Not all tools are right for all messages or audiences. What works for a ‘take action now’ alert won’t work for a ‘learn how’ tutorial. Select the medium according to the message and the demographic preference.
  • Short and Simple – We’re all bombarded with messaging on all fronts and in information overload. Attention spans have decreased and are continually taxed. Also, it’s essential to remember that most participants aren’t fluent in retirement fundamentals. Share information in ‘snippets’ using easy-to-understand terms and language.
  • Engaging – Where possible, use visuals, humor, storytelling to most powerfully connect participants with what they need to know.
  • Working – It’s essential that plan sponsors know whether their efforts are hitting the mark. Continually solicit participant feedback and measure outcomes, and fine-tune accordingly.

“The end goal of all sponsor communication efforts is to enhance participant understanding of the many factors influencing successful retirement saving and utilization, spur meaningful plan engagement, boost confident and appropriate decision making, enhance appreciation and, most of all, drive optimal outcomes,” concluded Matt.

Additional NAGDCA-provided resources include:

  • Talk is cheap: How to drive change through strategic communications
    Monday, October 12 – 2:00-3:00pm ET
    This presentation is one of four general sessions during Connect, NAGDCA’s new virtual engagement and learning series launching in October during National Retirement Security Month. To register for and learn more about Connect, click here.
  • NAGDCA Best Practices Guide to Participant Engagement Tools
    NAGDCA Best Practices Guides are available to members only. NAGDCA is currently waiving new member fees for the remainder of 2020 for Connect registrants.

The National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators provides education, information, and training in all aspects of public plan administration to support members in creating plans that enable secure retirement outcomes for their participants. To encourage a grassroots movement for societal change around retirement, NAGDCA conceived and introduced National Retirement Security Week to Congress. Resolution for National Retirement Security Week was passed by the Senate in 2006 and continues with bipartisan support annually. National Retirement Security Week was expanded to National Security Month in 2020. To learn more about NAGDCA, visit

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Media Contact
Robin Schoen
Robin Schoen Public Relations