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Fund Forward

Retirement Well-Being New Tack for Fund Firms?

A new marketing idea we've been hearing at recent conferences for the mutual fund industry is the notion of embracing new technologies, including blogging, instant messaging, chat rooms, webcasts, podcasts, websites tailored for each individual investor and even creating communities along the lines of facebook.com and YouTube.com.

There is no doubt that marketing and communications are moving into a new, personalized direction that will allow the mutual fund and other industries to communicate more creatively with individual customers as well as to create specialized, like-minded communities.

One way mutual fund companies could use these new technologies effectively is to take a holistic approach to investors' preparation for and life in retirement. They could engage clients not only on financial issues, but on all of the matters related to retirement well-being and happiness, inclusive of advice on a second career, healthcare, long-term care insurance and estate planning. This could go a long way to solidify firms' relationships with investors and earn their loyalty.

A new book by the original author of "What Color is Your Parachute?" could provide some inspiring tips. Written by John Nelson and the author of the original book, Richard Bolles, it's called "What Color is Your Parachute? for Retirement: Planning Now for the Life You Want?" (Ten Speed Press).

Nelson recently told SourceMedia sister publication Employee Benefit News that the reason he wrote the book, which he described as one about "life planning," was because of significant advances in psychology, sociology and medicine that can vastly improve the lives of senior citizens.

Helping people figure out their retirement strengths, adopt healthier habits and figure out new ways of developing friends during their retirement years are a few key points in the book.

AARP's model could also serve as a point of inspiration. Through its website and magazine, the organization addresses money, work, family, home, health, legal and political issues.

Yes, the main job of the mutual fund industry is to help people prepare for retirement. It is a sober job but one that could become more meaningful to investors if it had more of a personal touch.

(c) 2007 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.mmexecutive.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

Recent Posts

Mutual Funds Must Go High-Tech-v. 3.0

Over the last number of years, mutual fund transfer agencies and shareholder communications companies have tried to convince shareholders to accept paperless summary prospectuses, proxies, trade confirmations and electronically stamped signatures. Fund supermarkets and web home pages have broadened their horizons to include market commentary, videostreaming and personal financial news. At the same time, exchange-traded funds, funds-of-funds, hedge FoFs, unified managed accounts, target dates, 401(k) auto enrollment and heightened awareness among people throughout the country of the difficulties of being retired-have taken off.

Test of the Massey Mine

Fund giant boards of directors at AllianceBernstein, American Funds, Fidelity, Vanguard and others are reportedly starting to bring about meaningful change in the corporations in which they are invested. Proof should come any day now, when the shareholder proxy votes from the annual meetings are released. Fund chief executive officers spoke about the power and influence their proxies wield in an interesting Reuters article last week, "Mutual Funds Seek to Shed 'Rubber Stamp' Tag."

Milestones

In 2011, 401(k) plans will turn 30, but the milestones the mutual fund industry has reached in this time are but a nanosecond in the history of U.S. retirement policy. Executives we interviewed for this special edition of Money Management Executive for the Investment Company Institute's meeting in Washington, speak to important milestones of the recent past and into the future. Look inside for observations and forecasts by Ted Benna, Robert L. Reynolds, Dan Fuss, David C. John, Steven Miyao and others.

At Age 30, It's Time for a Revamping for the 401(k)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 401(k), the revolutionary retirement savings vehicle that has been annihilating pension plans, empowering individuals to take part in the stock market-and, sadly, that left retirees with the misfortune of leaving the workforce in 2000 or 2008 very badly off. The cracks in the system are prompting many asset managers, regulators and retirement experts to take a hard look at 401(k)s and how they can be fixed.

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Lee Barney

Lee Barney served as editor of Money Management Executive from 2002 to 2010. Previously, at United Media’s Wall Street & Technology magazine and Risk/Waters Information Services, she covered financial IT. For TheStreet.com, she wrote the daily “Meet the Street” column covering a broad spectrum of market-moving events. Lee began her career as a reporter in Tokyo with The Japan Times and was executive editor of Spotlight magazine.