Better 401(k) Participant Engagement
Gary Pinkerton of Pinkerton Retirement Specialists shares some of his success stories about using The Retirement Analysis Kit with 401(k) providers and participants.
TELL US ABOUT PINKERTON RETIREMENT SPECIALISTS, INC.
I’m Gary Pinkerton, part of Pinkerton Retirements here in northern Idaho. We’re one of the larger RIA firms in our area with about 800 million under management.
WHAT SERVICES DOES PINKERTON FINANCIAL PROVIDE?
We split our group into 2 major areas, one is private wealth and the other is 401(k) business.
TELL US ABOUT WORKING WITH 401(k) PLANS
401(k)’s are an area that we have not had a real focus on for the last few years but it came out with our book, The Hero’s 401(k) and also started using the Trust Builders software, and with that as a base decided to test the market to see how we can do in 401(k)’s. It turns out that it’s a great area. There’s a lot of low hanging fruit in that area and those Trust Builders reports helped immensely in being able to close that business.
SHARE WITH US A SUCCESS STORY ABOUT YOUR BOOK AND TRAK.
Well we had one situation where I walked in and the CFO came out and shook my hand and said that she had read the book, her husband had read the book, and she had been quoting pieces to the HR manager and the owner of the company. But much of that discussion was around the clarity that we would bring, and we described it in the book, the clarity that we would bring to retirement. The ability to be able to show to a participant, in one page, where they stand in retirement, what needs to happen for them to be able to subsist in retirement: what changes need to happen?
WHY DON’T YOU RELY ON THE RETIREMENT READINESS TOOLS THAT YOUR PROVIDERS HAVE FOR YOU?
All the providers that we use have these great tools online, where the participants can go online to determine, after putting a number of hours into it, figure out if they’re on track or not. The problem is that virtually no one does that. In general, the name of our book is The Hero’s 401(k), and the Hero part of it is that we want the owners, the executive team of 401(k) plan to step up, and be Hero’s to their employees, to show them how to retire. And just having the tool on the website doesn’t help anyone. So we want them to be on a path where they can; it’s not a matter of them actually having to do any additional work, they’re going to receive this one pager every year and in that one page they’ll be able to see exactly where they stand and what changes need to be made to improve their retirement. But it’s really that issue that we don’t want them to have to go through the effort. They’re not going to do that. So having that one pager has been a huge benefit for the employees themselves. And it’s been a huge advantage to the owners, in being able to say ‘Yeah, we’re doing what’s right for our employees’: we want to be able to help them retire and show them the tools needed to get some clarity on what does it take to retire.
TELL ME A LITTLE MORE.
Yeah, it’s been a common one that I sit down with them all the time, with prospects. They say “we already have that tool”; it’s ‘they can go online and they can do it’. “How many of your employees do it?” None of them do it! Yeah you’ve got the tool but nobody’s taking advantage of it. The advantage for us is we’re going to come in with that one pager and sit one on one with every employee, so they actually have a really clear view on what it takes to retire.
TELL ME A RECENT SUCCESS STORY WITH TRAK.
Well we just went through some extensive training in the last two days. It’s with a local mining group. And miners are their own individual beasts. But, we had heard that there was going to be some difficulty going in because some of the guys are a little gruff. But we found in sitting one on one with those people, all of them have a desire to retire successfully. And to be able to finally see, because they have a combination of, you’ve got companies that get social security reports, they’ve got their pension plans that they receive their reports on, separately, they have a separate report on a 401(k), but nowhere is all that brought together. So being able to sit with these fairly large individuals and walk through exactly how all that is merged together on a single, very clear document was huge for them. That by the end of it, I think the management team was pretty surprised. And really when it comes down to it, all of them want to be able to retire successfully. And they’ve never had that ability to be able to see it all together on that single document.
HOW IS WORKING WITH TRUST BUILDERS, INC.?
So, there are a number of times where we’ve had some issues as far as how do you do a certain aspect? This last one we had to integrate the pension information into the document and I had no idea how to do that. So it was a quick call over to the group, and I got a call back and we worked it through and now it’s very easy. So the support we’ve received has been great, very quick.
ANY CLOSING COMMENTS?
Well, one aspect I guess I’d like to bring out is that Trust Builders software has been a corner stone of our growth in the 401(k) plans. And it’s probably the best competitive edge we have against other advisors is that no one else has this report. I don’t want anybody else to have this report.