Wells Fargo’s Retirement City Brings Innovation to Participant Education

by on Jan 09, 2017

Between the uncertain future of Social Security and decline of traditional pensions, it has never been more important for Americans to understand what it takes to prepare for retirement. Wells Fargo is broadening its retirement outreach with its new Retirement City game—a virtual world with quizzes and challenges to sharpen retirement knowledge. Participants choose from 40 avatars and enter a variety of challenges to move through the game’s five levels of increasing difficulty, bringing them closer to retirement.

Retirement City Game Map

A recent report by Corporate Insight, Satisfying Today’s Retirement Plan Participant, shows that the retirement industry is suffering from a significant participant engagement deficit. For example, only 12% of approximately 1,500 respondents indicated that they accessed educational content on their participant site in the past 12 months; however, 43% said educational articles and 39% said education videos about retirement planning and investing were either extremely or very important elements of a participant site. Further, 65% stated having access to a retirement income projection tool is at least “very important,” despite only 23% having used one in the previous 12 months.

This disparity may point to a lack of engagement with the plan, and therefore a lack of awareness that these resources exist for free on the participant site. It likely also points to a lack of engaging educational content, so while many firms are providing education, it may struggle to resonate with today’s DC plan participant. With the changing retirement industry landscape, and the uncertainty many Americans face when it comes to retirement, firms must do all they can to reach those willing to learn and provide them with effective and engaging educational resources, and Wells Fargo’s Retirement City is a welcomed attempt to engage a wider audience.

Retirement City attempts to increase participant engagement and encourage action in a number of creative ways. Certain challenges reflect the difficulty of planning for retirement in real life; for example, Decision Points require participants to make financial choices, like choosing a house or car to buy, and Life Events require them to spin a wheel and deal with the resulting events. Challenges also include quizzes, mini games, multimedia activities and trivia, where participants read retirement facts. To increase engagement through the spirit of competition, when participants answer questions or play games, they are shown the percentage of other users who answered correctly, or the average user score, respectively. The game also takes steps to encourage action; for example, one of the first challenges requires participants to complete the Retirement Quick View Calculator on the Wells Fargo website, while the game’s dashboard encourages users to log in to the participant website.

Another recent study from Corporate Insight, The Innovation Advantage, takes a deeper dive into how recordkeepers are looking outside the industry to help participants become more retirement savvy.

Decision Point Challenge


Life Event Challenge