In recent months, numerous industry experts have voiced the opinion that stock market returns will continue to fall, not only over the short term but consistently over the coming decades. This has significant implications for millennials, many of whom are already struggling to save adequately for retirement in the face of more immediate financial concerns like student loan debt. According to these experts, millennials will need to save more and sooner if they are to successfully navigate the projected low-returns environment in the future to reach retirement with sufficient savings.
Empower Retirement recently released a new ad campaign targeted at millennials. The campaign includes brief live action and animated videos that hyperbolize some of the reasons millennials may be reluctant to save for retirement. The live action videos feature millennials sharing their retirement plans; for example, one plans to become a Rockstar, another to make his cat into an internet sensation. The animated videos retort these ideas; in one Zeus ensures a millennial who is not saving for retirement because she could “get hit by a lightning bolt” that she is not on his list, and a supermodel tells a millennial planning to marry a star, “that is not going to happen.”
Sleek Machine, an advertising agency that worked on the campaign, said the creative idea took root when one of its employees said, “What’s the point in starting my 401(k) when I could step outside and get hit by a bus tomorrow?” This mindset reveals part of the reason it can be so difficult for recordkeepers to encourage millennials to save for retirement. Unfortunately, the typical materials firms provide on participant sites, like articles about the power of compounding, may not be reaching millennials. Empower’s quick, funny videos speak to millennials in their own language and are easily shareable, rather than being tucked away within the participant site education center. If the members of Generation Y are to overcome the predicted low-returns environment, then their retirement savings habits will need to change, and if creative, targeted efforts like Empower’s new campaign can help accomplish that, we hope to see more in the future.