Retirement & Financial Planning Report

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A study has found that attending financial seminars sponsored by employers results in an increase in savings toward retirement.

While the study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute did not examine the federal government specifically, many federal agencies host sessions—in person or, for the last several years especially, online—regarding financial planning, “wellness” and retirement savings, including the role of the TSP in the federal benefits package.

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A summary of the report said that “persuading employees to utilize financial wellness webinars can be challenging, especially for younger and lower-contributing workers. However, those who do utilize the webinars may make material subsequent changes” in their savings.

It said that on average, those who attended any type of financial wellbeing seminar on averaged increased their annual retirement savings by between about $700 and $1,000, varying by age and their prior savings level. Attending a budgeting seminar resulted in increased savings among all demographic groups and “attending a webinar about investments is associated with an improved asset allocation for older employees with lower contributions,” it said.

Those findings relate to concerns the TSP has raised in its own studies of participant behavior, which have resulted in its own efforts to encourage more savings by younger federal employees and to raise awareness regarding the balance of risk and potential return in selecting among the investment funds.

The report added that “attending an emergency fund webinar was associated with a reduction in new loans for older employees, while health savings account webinars had the opposite association for younger employees.”

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