Ernst & Young has introduced an online retirement modelling tool to help employees prepare for life after work.

Since its launch at the end of January, 25 per cent of the firm’s employees have logged in to register and use the tool, with about 55 per cent of that group under the age of 40. “I was pleasantly surprised. It’s important for our young people to think about retirement because they’re the ones who actually have the time to bridge any gaps and save,” says Kim Taylor, assistant director of pension and benefits for Canada at EY.

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“I know we have some people coming up to retirement and they’ve also given some good feedback and said they were really pleased and are a lot more comfortable, after playing with the modeller, that they actually can afford [their lifestyle in retirement] based on the results of that.”

The tool provides employees with a sense of what they’ve already saved and what they think they still may need to save in the years before retirement, adds Taylor. “And it will fill any gaps as well, so it helps them plan what they need to do now in order to be retirement ready.”

The modeller is populated by information from EY’s third-party provider Conduent HR Services, including monthly updated group retirement savings balances. This could employee’s savings into the company’s defined contribution pension plan, group registered retirement savings plan and group tax-free savings account.

“So we feed those balances over on a monthly basis, and people can add any personal information,” says Taylor, noting the tool’s detailed registration and authentication process ensures the data is secure. The personalized nature of the modeller also allows employees to add in savings unrelated to what’s offered by EY. 

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“We wanted to provide a holistic approach . . . if you have pensions from previous employers, and also, if you think once you retire you’re still going to have five years of mortgage payments or your kids are going to be in university, you’re going to get an inheritance . . . You can put all that information into it, so it really does give you a holistic picture of your retirement savings and expenses.”

Indeed, one of the reasons for the introduction of the retirement planning tool was that it ties into the firm’s focus on financial well-being, says Taylor, noting the results of EY’s latest annual global employee survey found people place a high value on support from their employer that goes beyond work-life balance. While employees are typically aware of their savings account balances, they often don’t know how that translates into annual income when they reach retirement. 

“They don’t really know what that means,” she adds. “We wanted to put some meaning to that number.”

The online modeller was rolled out to employees through a communications strategy that started with an email from the managing partner of EY’s talent team. It included a link to the tool, as well as a detailed user guide that showed what different inputs could mean to employees. “Since the launch at the end of January, we’ve had weekly communications. And we have screens on all our floors, so there’s electronic posters across all the offices,” says Taylor.

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Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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