Millions of Americans are at risk of running out of money in retirement as, in general, Americans are living longer but saving less. This worrisome phenomenon has sparked a new trend that is beginning to take root in the life insurance industry: the sponsorship of 4.01k races, road races stretching 4.01 kilometers, or about 2.5 miles. Companies such as Prudential, Edward Jones and Nationwide have committed to sponsoring these aptly named fun runs to raise awareness for retirement savings.
The growing popularity of 4.01k races may be connected to the fact that many Americans believe physical and financial health to be intrinsically linked. The Principal Financial recently released a study which found evidence of an observable mental connection between physical and financial fitness in Americans. In the survey, 87% of respondents agreed that being physically healthy is an investment in their financial future. Overall, the survey found that American workers are feeling optimistic about their physical and financial health, and see a connection between the two. The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, interviewed more than 1,110 American workers across geographic and demographic spectra as part of a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in the workplace of small and mid-sized businesses.
As an example of this growing trend, Prudential recently launched a microsite devoted to promoting its upcoming 4.01k Race for Retirement, which it is hosting on October 4, 2015 in D.C.’s RFK stadium. The firm is advertising heavily for the event on social media and through short online commercials on websites such as YouTube and Hulu. The upcoming 4.01k run is also featured in the Spotlight section of Prudential’s public homepage. The microsite includes information and statistics that address the retirement challenge Prudential claims millions of Americans are facing. There is no sign-up fee for the race, but Prudential is asking all participants to take the pledge to save for retirement, even if it is only 1% more than they currently put away. Additionally, for every runner who registers, Prudential will make a $25 donation to the 1:1 fund, a nationwide foundation that supports low-income children’s college aspirations by matching their college savings dollar for dollar. By donating to the 1:1 fund, Prudential aims both to highlight that rising college costs are preventing concerned parents from saving for retirement, and to help raise capital to alleviate the growing issue.
Prudential 4.01k Race for Retirement Microsite Banner Image
Similarly, Edward Jones will host a 4.01k walk/run event for Edward Jones employees and their families on September 13, 2015. The race is designed to promote associate awareness of financial and physical well-being, and to provide a concrete demonstration of the concept that small steps can help one achieve long term goals.
Edward Jones 4.01k Run/Walk Image
Past races include Nationwide’s 4th Annual Nationwide 4.01k Walk/Run at the Philadelphia Zoo on June 13, 2015 and the First Annual 4.01k Run for Financial Fitness sponsored by advisory firm Chepenik Financial on April 1 in Orange County, Florida. All proceeds from the Nationwide event went directly to Philabundance, which provides food access to those in need in the Delaware Valley. Nationwide did not engage in a significant effort to market the race in terms of life insurance awareness besides running 4.01 kilometers. The fact that the race is in its fourth year, however, stands as a testament to the degree of popularity such events hold. Proceeds from the Chepenik race went toward Junior Achievement of Central Florida, a volunteer driven K-12 program that fosters work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. Unlike Nationwide, Chepenik promoted the race as an event that would build a heathier and more financially stable community, neatly drawing upon the race’s dual purpose to raise both retirement awareness and funds for Junior Achievement. Leading up to the race, participants received emails and videos that provided helpful tips and suggestions to help them prepare physically for the run and fiscally for their life.
Nationwide 4.01k Race Image
Overall, 4.01k races provide firms with a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of a significant issue, demonstrate a presence in the community and inspire individuals to take charge of their physical and fiscal well-being. Further, these events are a great marketing initiative in that, as large-scale, noticeable events, they help draw attention to a firm’s brand and causes.