Going toe to toe with Retirement Readiness to win!

Have you ever watched an ultimate fighter train? I have. It’s fascinating. Imagine a steel cage, six fighters, five five-minute rounds, two-minute breaks in between. Every five minutes a new fighter with fresh legs comes in the ring to take on the guy who’s training. By the time the fifth person comes in the ring the guy, or gal, training is gassing hard. For them, they train like they fight – hard. Give it all you’ve got and then, give it some more with tenacity, passion and unfaltering perseverance to get to the ultimate goal.


If you think about it, a fighter is training for at best, 25 minutes in the ring. When we prepare for retirement, we are training for the rest of our lives. When they say your life depends on it, well it really does.

Getting participants to save for retirement might feel a bit like you are in the fifth round of training, gassing hard with not much left to give. Statistics, such as Brightwork Partners’ Supporting Retirement Savings 2013 survey, show that by in large plan sponsors feel an overwhelming obligation to help their participants be ready for retirement. Just as a fighter gets his/her second wind, you can too. We are here to help. Consider the Principal Financial Group® your retirement readiness trainer!

Throughout 2014, you will be able to follow a series of blogs on this topic alone. Yes, retirement readiness is that important. We’ll train for things like:

  • what do workforce management, cost, defining success of your plan, and overcoming participants’ objections mean to you as the plan sponsor
  • the role of the advisor,
  • how various plan types play into retirement readiness,
  • education strategies, and
  • learning to talk in terms participants can understand.

Everyone needs to save for retirement. However, engaging a Gen Y employee who has the highest level of debt in American history is different than engaging a Boomer who may just now be realizing they didn’t save enough over their lifetime to be able to retire when they wanted. Credit card and school debt are winning the battle of where the money goes for many employees. What you want to do about it as an employer differs depending on your corporate goals and objectives.

So, when does your training start? How about today? Let me introduce you to the five sets of fresh training legs (funny how that worked out so perfectly) that will be taking you toe to toe with retirement readiness: Cynthia Mueller, Niki Daumueller, Todd Cowman, Susan Kelly and Josh Feldman, consultants at The Principal®. I invite you to set up an alert and follow us each month as we train America to save and retire ready.

But, as we all know, training renders useless without personal challenges and goals.

Challenge:  Tell us what you are doing; what’s working and what’s your biggest challenge to getting your participants to save.

Challenge:  Create a social community for plan sponsors to share information.

Challenge:  Evaluate the retirement readiness of your plan participants.

Goal:  Implement retirement readiness communication and education strategies for all employees, including those not currently participating in your plan.

Goal:  Adopt plan design changes to promote retirement readiness

As we go through the year be thinking about how you are or can make retirement readiness work for your employees. And let’s have some fun with it. I look forward to seeing how you come together to share stories and encouragement as the year progresses.  If you don’t see topics around retirement readiness that you are looking for, make a suggestion through the comment section.


In addition to blogging here, I also tweet regularly about topics of interest to retirement readiness. Click to follow me on Twitter – @cortneythede.

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While this communication may be used to promote or market a transaction or an idea that is discussed in the publication, it is intended to provide general information about the subject matter covered and is provided with the understanding that none of the member companies of The Principal are rendering legal, accounting, or tax advice. It is not a marketed opinion and may not be used to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, or accounting obligations and requirements.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company a member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.


  • Tiffany

    Cortney Thede: this was a very inspirational blog. It really opened up my eyes to what my husband and I need to do to prepare for the future with our family. It’s never too early in my book to start preparing for a smoother finacial future.

    Thank you again for the great blog!

  • Great blog on an important topic, Cortney. I really like the correlation with ultimate fighting, because after all, life can be a fight and only YOU can ensure that you’re prepared for that fifth round (retirement).