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BC Researchers to Demo New Retirement Planning Tool

The Boston College Center for Retirement Research (CRR) will demo a new retirement planning tool, created in partnership with First Eagle Investment Management and Upstatement, in about three to four weeks.

The tool’s “simple and intuitive” interface allows users to enter their current savings information into the calculator, then project their predicted retirement age based on the information provided, according to research fellow Anek Belbase. The innovation is designed to help retirees make decisions about distributing their assets, all while providing them clear information about what a future paycheck may look like, Michael Rosenberg, head of retirement investment solutions at First Eagle, told Financial Advisor.

CRR deals with initiatives to improve financial security during retirement. Last month, CRR published a brief—with financial support from First Eagle—noting that dual-earner households are saving only 4.9 percent of their household earnings, compared to 8.6 percent for single-earner couples. The center plans to work with First Eagle to research how retirees spend money during retirement and how they react to financial crises.

CRR acknowledges that users are busy and averse to complexity, so it created a tool that monitors retirement planning along the way, according to Belbase. The first demo of the tool only requires users to enter their current savings contributions information, then gives an individualized set of projections so they can focus on one decision at a time.

“The complexity isn’t in the interface, but in the engine,” he said.

The demo is first being presented to recordkeepers and potential platforms, Belbase said. The first steps in the process are to find users then tailor the tool for their needs.

The tool will be incorporated into sites and applications where people are already thinking about retirement, such as financial planning, recordkeeping, and banking sites, according to Belbase. CRR will integrate the tool into existing sites because users are less likely to click onto another webpage and value its information when they are making financial decisions.

“We want to build a tool that’s not a destination, but is already embedded,” said Belbase.

In the future, the tool will deliver real-time notifications to users about their retirement planning. For example, users will receive a notification about how their planning is affected when they increase or decrease their contribution or reach a savings milestone, or when the market changes, according to Belbase.

The data acquired from the tool will be used to create a publicly available anonymous data set via CRR. Aggregate data will be used to compute trends and be viewable through different filters: total assets deposited monthly, average contribution rate, or age. The data will be available to view on two levels of access, a general data set and a set available to a few users with training through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative to handle sensitive data, according to Belbase.

First Eagle will use the data acquired through the retirement tool to market its products.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

May 7, 2019