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Global Future of Retirement Conference

Make financial education simpler, go beyond retirement savings, speakers say

Financial education requires simplicity and a recognition that financial literacy must expand beyond retirement savings, plan sponsors said Tuesday at Pensions & Investments' Global Future of Retirement conference.

"We have to put ourselves in the employees' position," said Bernard "Bernie" Knobbe, vice president global benefits at AECOM. "It's about awareness. We need to enable employees to put things together."

Mr. Knobbe made his comments at the Tuesday panel discussion, "Bridging the gap between financial education and financial literacy."

Mr. Knobbe said sponsors must expand the concept of wellness to include health savings accounts, life insurance, budget, tuition assistance and other factors beyond retirement benefits.

And sponsors must get to the point quickly: "If you don't get them in the first sentence, you've lost them," he said.

"You need to incentivize the right behaviors," said Matt Leckrone, senior vice president, total rewards, for Compass Group.

Compass Group has many hourly employees so its financial education efforts emphasize spending, he said.

"They need help with spending," he said. "They have to manage spending to live within their means."

Any education effort requires simplicity. "They're going to need us to simply for them," Mr. Leckrone added.