At ING, we recognize that many Americans aren't sure where to begin when it comes to retirement saving. The current financial markets may have gotten them even more confused or frustrated
(Vocus) March 17, 2009
In today's economy, it's more important than ever to find helpful ways to save for long-term financial goals such as retirement.
Now, a free web-tool from ING offers a new approach to retirement saving by leveraging the power of "Peer Comparison." The tool -- http://www.INGCompareMe.com -- makes it possible for anyone to see where they stand in relation to others on a wide range of saving, spending, investing, debt and personal finance matters.
By relying on peer data, the tool provides an objective way for users to gauge their own financial status and, ultimately, take action. For example, if investors determine they've saved less in their workplace retirement plans than their counterparts, it may inspire them to save more. If they come out ahead of the curve, it may encourage them to continue their good habits.
"At ING, we recognize that many Americans aren't sure where to begin when it comes to retirement saving. The current financial markets may have gotten them even more confused or frustrated," said Richard Mason, president of corporate markets for ING U.S. Retirement Services. "We believe INGCompareMe.com offers a unique and easy way for investors to begin thinking about retirement and how to reach their goals. From what we know about peer comparison, when individuals benchmark themselves to others it increases the chance that they will act on those comparisons."
Users who log onto INGCompareMe.com create a profile by entering some simple background information, along with optional details, such as their hobbies and interests. They can then access a number of different personal finance categories, answer a variety of straightforward questions, and quickly find out how they compare to people just like them. No names, email addresses or identification is requested, so the process is completely anonymous.
For more information about INGCompareMe.com, ING will conduct a brief webinar presentation on Tuesday, March 24 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. You can access the webinar at:
Access to Web Presentation: http://premiere.acrobat.com/ING
Dial-in for Audio Conference: Toll free: 1-800-214-0745
Participant Pass code: 597452
ING's new web-tool was initially populated with data from a survey conducted by the ING Institute for Retirement Research. The survey polled over 5,000 adults who participated in workplace retirement savings plans.1 These individuals were asked more than 150 questions on various financial matters. The goal was to identify characteristics that might affect personal savings behavior, and find patterns that reveal why some do better or worse than their peers.
For example, the survey found that those who spent more time thinking about and planning for their retirement -- including spending time with a financial professional -- were also saving more in their workplace retirement plans. In fact, savers who spent a lot more time with a financial professional accumulated 60% more than those who did not spend any time. Even savers that spent some time with a professional accumulated 40% more than those who did not spend any time.
In addition to the survey data, visitors to INGCompareMe.com are incorporating their information into the tool, building scale and expanding its power over time. A mechanism is in place to remove older data so that the comparisons reflect current market conditions.
Besides satisfying one's curiosity, the tool offers users a chance to take action. If someone wants to ask a question or simply discuss their unique circumstance, they can call or e-mail ING specialists. Financial professionals can use INGCompareMe.com with their clients, to help start a conversation about creating a sound retirement plan. The tool is also a resource for employers who sponsor ING-administered retirement plans for their employees.
"At ING, we're always looking to make things easier for our customers and our business partners. And we're always listening to what they care most about," noted Mason. "Ultimately, we want to help more Americans save for their retirement. If visitors are encouraged to do that through this tool, then we're getting them one step closer to their goals."
1 The ING study on Insights into Defined Contribution Savings Behavior was conducted in conjunction with Greenfield Online. Respondents were required to be participants in a workplace retirement savings plan and actively involved in household finance decisions. Answers were collected through two separate online survey panels, which yielded a total of 5,165 valid respondents. The first survey was conducted in August 2008 and the second survey was conducted in September 2008. More than 150 questions about savings, spending, investing, debt and financial planning were asked. The goal was to obtain an understanding of positive and negative characteristics affecting comparative savings behavior and accumulated savings. An ordered multi-factor regression analysis was used to correlate time contributing, income and number of dependents to expected savings, with 99.9% statistical significance (excluding age).
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 125,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.
In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves over 29 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit http://www.ing.com.