Christine Marcks, president of Prudential Retirement, has been named the 2015 winner of the Lillywhite Award, which honors people who have made contributions to Americans' economic security.
Ms. Marcks “has been an active party to improving the state of knowledge” of retirement planning and financial literacy, said Dallas Salisbury, president emeritus of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, which sponsors the award.
Ms. Marcks joined Prudential Retirement, Hartford, Conn., a unit of Prudential Financial Inc., in 2007. The award recognizes her entire career, which includes executive roles at ING Group — now Voya Financial — and Aetna Inc. as well as working as an international economist at the Treasury Department.
During her tenure, Prudential “has been an extra innovator in the nature of financial education efforts” both for participants and the general public, Mr. Salisbury said. Prudential “has helped people readily understand the impact of building savings over time.”
Some of that education has been in the form of television commercials describing the need for saving early, using approaches gleaned from consumer behavior research.
“The focal point of the ad campaign is to take complex financial topics and simplify them,” said Ms. Marcks. The ads have illustrated issues such as longevity risk and the impact of compounding.
For example, Prudential has run commercials based on a “Race for Retirement” event in November in Washington to illustrate peoples' retirement readiness.
One commercial encourages people to save an additional 1% more per year for retirement. Another follows people running through gates along a “Race For Retirement” course. One gate has a sign that asks, “Are you completely prepared for retirement?” but shows most racers running through the NO portal. At another gate whose sign asked runners if they can they give 1% more for retirement, most ran through the YES portal.
Another ad explored the “action gap,” asking younger people at what age they think they should start saving for retirement and asking older people when they actually started investing for retirement.