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Mercer Launches Online Retirement Planning Program

    
NORWOOD, MA, April 22, 2009 -- Mercer, a leading global provider of benefits administration, announced today that it has recently launched the "Feel better about retirement" online educational program for employees whose 401k plans it administers. The program is designed to help participants stay on track with their long-term financial objectives while also acknowledging their financial concerns in a volatile economic environment. In addition, Mercer has made this program -- which incorporates podcasts, articles, and easy-to-use retirement calculators -- available to the general public at www.FeelBetterAboutRetirement.com.

"Feel better about retirement" is an interactive program that uses an engaging "financial ailment" theme to address participants' investment fears and encourage positive retirement planning during these challenging times. The campaign will be updated quarterly in order to stay current with the economic environment. Each quarter, participants will be able to "check their symptoms" of a new financial ailment and investigate their "treatment options." For example, the first phase, "401k mattressitis," explores the effects of withdrawing money from a qualified retirement savings plan. Participants who might be tempted to hide their money -- perhaps under the figurative mattress -- rather than invest it for retirement can explore strategies for managing investment risk.

"Planning for retirement in a volatile and rapidly changing economic environment can be a major challenge, which is why we are proactively addressing our participants' anxieties with this interactive educational program," explained Suzanne Nolan, Director of Marketing and Communications for Mercer's outsourcing business. "The addition of ‘Feel better about retirement' to our standard platform is another example of how we are delivering timely, relevant messaging to participants to help them keep their retirement planning strategies on track. By candidly addressing the challenges that participants can particularly relate to in this economy -- and presenting this information in a clear, easily understandable, and interesting manner -- we feel that we can directly improve employee engagement and empower employees to make active decisions that are consistent with their financial goals."

"Feel better about retirement" is based on key findings from the 2008 Mercer Workplace Survey™ and on a comprehensive analysis of recent Mercer participant account activity. While most participants said that saving for retirement remains a major financial goal, three key trends reveal difficulty in maintaining their investment plans:

  • For the second year in a row, "just keeping up with my monthly expenses" is respondents' biggest financial worry.
  • 43% of participants lack confidence in their ability to calculate and plan for how much money they may need in retirement.
  • An increasing number of participants have shifted funds into more conservative plan options like capital preservation funds in recent months, and more participants are decreasing their contribution rates.

"Despite all of the problems in the global economy, our research indicates that participants are still committed to preparing for their financial future, which is why ‘Feel better about retirement' is a great educational resource for them and the general public," noted Ms. Nolan. "While plan sponsors can feel encouraged by the fact that employees still consider saving for retirement a priority, our findings emphasize the need to increase communication to participants about the benefits of maintaining a long-term investment strategy. Employees consistently report that they rely on employers and their plan administrators more than any other source for information about investing for retirement, and we will continue to support plan sponsors in fulfilling that critical role."

About the Mercer Workplace Survey

The Mercer Workplace Survey is an annual, proprietary research study conducted by an independent third party to track employees' attitudes and behaviors around employer-sponsored benefit plans. These findings are based on a national cross-section of 2,204 active 401k and health benefit participants.

About Mercer

Mercer is a leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing, and investment services. Mercer works with clients to solve their most complex benefit and human capital issues, designing and helping manage health, retirement, and other benefits. It is a leader in benefit outsourcing. Mercer's investment services include investment consulting and multi-manager investment management. Mercer's 18,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., which lists its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) on the New York, Chicago, and London stock exchanges. For more information, visit www.mercer.com.

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