Engaging New Hires to Invest in their Financial Security

TIAA-CREF Institute Fellows Symposium
TIAA-CREF Headquarters
New York, New York

September 2008 |

Engaging new college and university employees to plan and save for retirement is a challenge and concern for many institutions. In September 2008, the TIAA-CREF Institute brought together senior administrators in higher education, leading academic researchers and senior leadership from TIAA-CREF to discuss the nature and causes of the new hire savings challenge and strategies for addressing it. The symposium examined the new hire experience on campus; the latest thinking on how individuals make decisions and move to action; best practices to engage new hires in saving for retirement; and key takeaways from the discussions that TIAA-CREF and higher education institutions can build into programs serving new employees.

The symposium featured presentations by:
Andy Brantley, Chief Executive Officer, CUPA-HR
Daniel Denecke, Program Director, Best Practices, Council of Graduate Schools
Jamie DePeau, Senior Vice President, Marketing, TIAA-CREF
Punam Keller, Charles Henry Jones Third Century Professor of Management, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
Curtis Lloyd, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, and Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor, The State University of New York
Catherine McCabe, Vice President, Individual Client Services, TIAA-CREF
Olivia S. Mitchell, Professor of Insurance and Risk Management and Business and Public Policy, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, TIAA-CREF Institute Fellow
Eldar Shafir, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University, TIAA-CREF Institute Fellow
Teresa Sullivan, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan, TIAA-CREF Institute Fellow
Gal Zauberman, Associate Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

A consensus emerged that education creates an understanding of the need to save and even an intent to save, but it is typically not sufficient to move new employees to begin saving. Barriers overwhelm intent.Such barriers can result from the context of the new hire experience, biases in time perceptions, feeling overwhelmed by the decisions that must be made, wanting to be sure that the right decision is made, as well as other factors. Social marketing provides a framework for understanding these barriers and developing strategies and aids to market retirement savings to new employees and make it easy for them to begin saving. An additional strategy is trying to make new faculty pre-disposed to retirement saving before arriving on campus through financial planning education offered to Ph.D. students while still in graduate school.

A TIAA-CREF Institute Trends & Issues publication based on the symposium is available in the Institute research library.

© 2014 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New York, NY 10017