Mercer | Mercer and Stanford Center on Longevity

Mercer | Mercer and Stanford Center on Longevity


The Mercer and Stanford Center on Longevity Article Series

Mercer is partnering with the Stanford Center on Longevity to develop a thought leadership series on retirement income adequacy. We will investigate many of the issues raised by our recent Point of View Securing Retirement Outcomes for the Employee including how exposing people to a 3-D aged avatar of themselves impacts their savings behavior to more practical questions such as what difference will an employer’s involvement make on a typical retiree check. We are also aware of the fiduciary concerns many employers have when doing more for their employees and we will address these as the series progresses.

Mercer and Stanford Center on Longevity's Commitment to Improving Retirement Outcomes

Mercer is committed to helping employers and individuals secure better retirement outcomes. Combining Mercer’s expertise and experience with the Stanford Center on Longevity’s origins in the psychology discipline, the series represents a unique opportunity to share what we have learned together through our collaboration.

Issue 1: It's time to rise to the retirement challenge

Today Americans look to the 401(k) plan as the primary retirement vehicle — but this was conceived as a simple, supplemental savings plan. These defined contribution (DC) plans place significant responsibility and challenges on employees and retirees, as they were not designed with the goal of transforming savings into adequate lifetime retirement income.

Issue 2: How to increase your employees’ retirement income

Most employees with 401(k) plans are paid a lump sum upon retirement. When faced with the challenge of generating a retirement income from this payout, many of them miscalculate. Plan sponsors are in a unique position to help their employees generate a favorable retirement income. This article will investigate three commons ways employers can improve their employees' retirement income:

  • Systematic withdrawals
  • Immediate annuities and
  • Hybrid products

Issue 3: Knowing your future you

Applying behavioral science to improve retirement savings patterns

Despite abundant information about the need to save for retirement, most Americans' 401(k) plans fall short of where they would like them to be. Researchers have been investigating ways to strengthen employees “emotional connection” with the future self in order to improve savings behavior. The third article in the Mercer and Stanford Center on Longevity series explores new techniques for improving employees participation in saving for retirement.

Issue 4: Retirement income statements may help avert a looming crisis

Many employers recognize the challenges that an aging workforce brings and are looking for ways to encourage their employees to save more for retirement now. This article discusses one overlooked tool that employers can leverage more effectively: income statements for defined contribution (DC) retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans.

Issue 5: Improving your Employees' retirement security at minimal cost

The majority of retired Americans depend heavily on Social Security benefits. However, half of all Americans start drawing social security benefits at age 62, resulting in suboptimal retirement income. This article investigates the optimization of social security by delaying benefit drawdown, providing examples of the increase in retirement income.

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