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November 21, 2021

Deciphering pension plan statements: more paper please!

Although it's hard to argue against the win/win of estatements (save trees, save money, save clutter, thwart dumpster divers) the are very real consumer behaviour issues that work against going completely paperless -- particularly when it comes to money issues.

Three in four adults, for instance, say they prefer to receive retirement plan information on paper versus electronically. Despite teeming in boxesm only 23% are interested in receiving this information via email, even with a link to a website, according to a recent survey by AARP

70% said they would be more likely to read their statements if they received them on paper, and another 73% said they would be more likely to save hard-copy reports.

What's interesting is that the preference for paper was overwhelming for all age groups, even those who are online daily. However, those 50 and older are more likely to prefer paper (84%) than those younger than 50 (66%).

The survey was conducted in response to pending legislation in the United States that would permit pension plan sponsors to make electronic delivery of such documents the default option — a move favoured by many Canadian plan sponsors.

“AARP has long had concerns about this approach, and our new survey indicates that the public shares those views,” maintains Cristina Martin Firvida, director of financial security issues in government affairs at the AARP.

“Retirement plan participants of all ages overwhelmingly prefer a policy that requires retirement documents to be delivered in paper form, with an option to choose electronic delivery rather than the other way around.”

Are you one of them?

Do you view pension fund statements the same way as cell phone or utility bills? Do you care at all how they're delivered to you?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...