Introduced in early 2017, Willis Towers Watson's FiT Lifetime tool helps employees understand how long their total savings could last and what they can do to stretch their savings (retirement and non-retirement) and maximize tax efficiencies.
Participants can choose to enter as much data or as little data as they like. Data that Willis Towers Watson can access through employers, like individuals' retirement investments and pay, are entered automatically.
There are other data points that are entered automatically, like life expectancy and the age a participant claims Social Security, which can be tweaked at the user's discretion. The web-based tool can also account for events like purchasing an annuity or a decline in one's standard of living.
The tool is drawing the interest of younger workers, Mr. Bartling said.
"When you give access to technology that shows how the drawdown phase and some of the decisions you make in the drawdown phase are extremely relevant even to the accumulation phase ... we're seeing very high appetite," Mr. Bartling said.
While active workers are the ones now using the tool, Mr. Bartling said there have been discussions about making the tool available to retirees as well.
The tool is being used by 15 employers.
One of the newer drawdown tools comes from BlackRock and targets retirees.
Launched last month, BlackRock's LifePath Spending Tool provides retirees with estimates of how much they can spend annually in retirement based off long-term capital market assumptions, mortality risk, volatility, the current age of the participant and savings balance.
Participants only provide part of that data — current age and savings balance.
Intended users are retirees between the ages of 63 and 95 with savings invested in a 40% equity/60% bond portfolio. Participants do not have to be invested in BlackRock's LifePath target-date funds.
The web-based tool is only available now to plans that are BlackRock clients, although it is expected to be available eventually to the public on the firm's website.
Retirees are encouraged to revisit the tool annually for updated spending withdrawal estimates. Other elements that could affect retirees' income levels, like Social Security and spousal income, are not accounted for now but might be added in the future.
Speaking at Pensions & Investments' East Coast Defined Contribution conference in Miami last month, Nick Nefouse, managing director, head of DC investment and product strategy at BlackRock and co-head of the firm's LifePath target-date series, said that the LifePath Spending Tool represents a "back-to-basics" approach for BlackRock, which launched its first target-date fund with annuities in 2007 with "zero commercial success."
"We never had a bad conversation with the (annuities) product, but nobody bought it," Mr. Nefouse said, adding plan sponsors' concerns around portability and fiduciary risk have prevented many from offering in-plan annuities in general.
BlackRock now is trying to educate retirees on how to spend from their target-date funds, Mr. Nefouse said.