Imagining retirement could be like seeing land beyond the edge of the map: full of dragons with a small possibility of gold. Using movies and popular entertainment can help employees literally map out retirement and imagine their own land beyond the office walls.
The hardest part about saving for retirement may be the idea of saving for something that’s off the map. Hundreds of years ago, maps were drawn only to include countries and continents that travelers could describe. The maps were drawn horribly; with scale and proportion wildly out of psych with reality. Even more whacky were the edges of the map where there were lands unknown. Beyond the edge of the map, there lurked all sorts of terrible possibilities. Of course, gold lay beyond those edges, or why else would Columbus have sailed?
If your employees look to retirement years like a map reader looked at those maps, imagining retirement could be like seeing land beyond the edge of the map: full of dragons with a small possibility of gold.
Using movies and popular entertainment can help employees literally map out retirement and imagine their own land beyond the office walls. It could be that few examples can light a fire under your employees to become more retirement ready. Most movies about retirement or dealing with death will have a teachable moment that employers and plan sponsors can use to help employees understand essential elements of retirement readiness.
The most lighthearted option for helping employees see retirement may be The Bucket List, a dark comedy about two terminally ill patients who set off to achieve specific goals before passing away (or “kicking the bucket”). The movie can provide employees with an opportunity see how the characters define the key elements they want to achieve in life. Teachable moments include having employees articulate the key things they want to achieve in their lives. From that education or discussion can help employees shape spending and savings plans so they can achieve those goals.
Office Spacemay at first seem like an odd choice to use for teaching about retirement readiness. The plot of the now classic movie involves unhappy office workers trapped in their cubicles, some of whom plot to steal from the company and others threaten to burn the company down. Yet, the key to their plan lays in how they plan to steal from the company, that is the penny pinching plan they have is set up to siphon small amounts off of each transaction. This wild ride of a movie is a great example of how small amounts on each transaction can add up immensely. Transaction fees and costs may seem to small to matter to employees who want to switch fund allocations with each leaf flutter in the market. This movie’s plot about pennies from each transaction adding up to a fortune may help show that concept. It could also be used as a way to show how small amounts add up overtime in creating retirement amounts. Seeing the much maligned Milton, the hero with the red stapler, sipping cocktails on a beach using the funds of that penny pinching scheme may also remind employees that the amount they are saving for retirement is still theirs to enjoy eventually.
While most movie critics will refer to retirement classics like On Golden Pondas the epitome of quiet retirement (and also movies about prehistoric birds), your employees may get more out of movies about the actual possibility of overcoming debt through sacrifice.
The Pursuit of Happyness may involve a misspelled word, but it doesn’t miss any other detail of a life where an intensely smart businessman overcomes an enormous amount of debt and struggles with homelessness. The main character eventually becomes a successful stockbroker and owns his own business. Given that the average American carries $137,000 in debt, yet earns just $60,000 last year, a movie about the realities of debt, and how they can be overcome can inspiring. Additionally, the movie has plenty of teachable moments about penalties for late paying debt (like parking tickets) and how some debt is inescapable (like garnishment of wages for IRS back taxes).
Speaking of terrifying debt, A Perfect Murderinvolves a twisted plot to access an heiress’s income to pay off debt amassed through living beyond your means. The movie could be a teachable moment on not using optimism as a financial strategy.
Before leaping into the unknown, we recommend a thorough examination of your plan. Because we are experts in the field, we know the marketplace and know what your existing vendor is capable of offering. Through this examination, we can help you optimize the service you receive.get xpress proposal