Helping plan members stay aligned with their retirement savings goals

Retirement readiness is a long-term undertaking, and a slow and steady process. Providing plan members with support to and through the decumulation phase is essential to creating financial security and sustainable retirement income. In 2023, we continue to engage with members by providing support and learning opportunities which help to ensure they are aligned with their retirement savings and goals. Results of the first half of the year show that members’ willingness to consume financial literacy content has grown significantly in comparison to previous years. This year, engagement with financial literacy content has grown by 41%. Members are increasingly looking for ways to take control of their money. They are eager to learn the basics or build more in-depth financial literacy knowledge, and we’re delighted to help members along in their journey. 

At the beginning of 2023, we launched an updated website for our Financial Wellness webinars. Along with a new look and feel, members can now choose their level of financial literacy and attend webinars that best meet their needs. We’ve also added a “Find out more” section on each topic’s page, to provide an opportunity for further learning for those interested in diving a little deeper. These improvements lead to a 50% increase of the average attendance per session.

We encourage you to continue to promote the Financial Wellness webinars among your employees to help them grow their knowledge and take control of their money. You can find promotional materials here. Plan members can register for the sessions in a few easy steps directly on

To provide your plan members with financial literacy and education materials, visit the Sponsor Resource Centre.

Retirement readiness means ensuring plan members have saved enough to provide sufficient income throughout their retirement. Our vision is to give working Canadian’s the confidence and support to live and retire financially secure. This year, we launched a new website and retirement toolkit to provide members valuable information on what they can do to plan and prepare for retirement.

Plan members over the age of 55 received an email encouraging them use the toolkit and book an appointment with a licensed financial services consultant* if they want help with creating a financial roadmap. We were pleased to see that the engagement rates for this communication were higher than industry average (CTR 5.5% vs 2.15%). 

Many plan members need support and guidance on their financial and retirement journey. This year we were very excited to launch 360 Plan Advice for our GRS plan members. It’s a seamless support to and through retirement. 360 Plan Advice offers one-to-one support through licensed financial services consultants* that are dedicated to workplace savings plans, at no additional cost.

The rollout is organized in phases and 360 Plan Advice will gradually be available to all our Clients this year.

Watch the sponsor video

Watch the video for plan members

Our state-of-the-art planning tool – and it's part of 360 Plan Advice. Using this tool, our licensed financial services consultants* can help build a plan member’s financial roadmap – and update it as the plan member’s life circumstances change.

We continue to reach out to plan members at pivotal life moments, encouraging them to use these resources to build their financial roadmap and plan for their retirement. We’re seeing great engagement from plan members, whether that would be using the tools and resources provided, maximizing their workplace plan or talking to our financial services consultants*.

In the coming weeks, GRS Plan members will be able to use the Sun Life One Plan tool on their own via the plan member secure site. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

To support a better understanding of decumulation strategies, we’ve launched a new decumulation playbook. It outlines the ways we can support plan sponsors in helping their plan members generate adequate and sustainable retirement income. It also sets out the different roles plan sponsors can play in supporting their plan members both before and after retirement.

Canadians are looking for solutions to convert their retirement savings to income. We’re focused on helping you support your plan members in their decumulation planning and continue to provide content and resources to help tackle the most pressing decumulation topics. This year we added three new articles to our My Money in Retirement Decumulation Hub series.

One of the articles, called Leave a legacy or pursue bucket lists? considers the complexities of legacy planning. It explores how you can guide plan members towards comprehensive retirement and legacy planning that balances wants and needs. The article also looks at how taxes, lifestyle and investments affect this planning.

Another article - These emotions get in the way of saving and planning for the future - looks at the psychology of retirement planning. With the help of emerging science of behavioural economics, it is shedding light on the errors people commonly make around money. It delves into how you, as a plan sponsor, can help your members understand the emotions that hinder or assist with good retirement planning.

Last but not least, Dynamic Pensions – Does it Hold the Promise to Provide Retirement Security? article considers the future impact of dynamic pension plans, including commentary from Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald, director of financial security research for the National Institute on Ageing at Toronto Metropolitan University.

You can also check out our video mapping Celine’s my money in retirement journey here

An RRSP is known to be one of the best ways for members to grow their contributions tax-free and to save for retirement. Once again, this year, Sun Life ran an RRSP campaign and reached out to plan members to encourage them to enrol, and to contribute to, their group RRSP.

In 2023, we presented an RRSP message across our web and mobile zones to over 520,000 members. And over 121,000 of them engaged with our marketing messages. This represents a 23% engagement rate – our highest to date.

As well, members are increasingly using the my Sun Life mobile app to engage with the RRSP campaign (growing 19% year-over-year). 

Whether a plan member is saving for an emergency fund or for retirement, a TFSA is a great way to help stay on track with their saving goals. Each year we run a TFSA digital campaign to educate members on the benefits of the TFSA and to help them build financial resiliency. Through this digital campaign we encourage them to use a TFSA to create an emergency fund.

For TFSA 2023, our engagement rate increased by 5.3% year-over -year (from 13.3% to 14%). Our number of delivered emails was much higher this year in comparison with last season (+ 17.7%). TFSA enrolment from increased to 77.6% year-over-year. 

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada and Sun Life is an active participant in this education campaign. The key objective of this initiative is to empower Canadians to better understand their retirement savings opportunities and manage their money wisely. Throughout the month of November, we reached out to plan members to strengthen their financial literacy and encourage them to save for their future.

Learn more about the Financial Literacy Month campaign

In October, we launched Sun Life One Plan - a simple, easy-to-follow goal-based planning tool. This new tool, which replaces our existing retirement planner, gives plan members the opportunity to create a personalized financial roadmap that adapts to their different life stages. This includes proposing decumulation strategies. Sun Life One Plan is available through the Planning your Best Retirement page on the secure member site.

We’re seeing great results since the tool’s launch in October:

  • Emails to plan members about the tool – engagement rate +94% against the benchmark.
  • 730 unique One Plans created across 239 Plan sponsors 

You can find more information about all the One Plan and the features to offers to plan members here.

We added the TD Greystone Target Date Plus Series of Funds to our Core Investment Platform to provide sponsors and members with additional choice in this important category (Target Date funds). These funds are unique offering in the CAP space, due to their significant allocation to alternative asset classes (each invests 20-25% in alternatives, providing additional diversification opportunities). 

We continue to further enhance our Financial Wellness webinars experience. In the second half the year, we added a new topic to the list of available webinars – “Exploring Behavioural Finance”. It takes a look at ways to overcome negative behavioral tendencies concerning investing.

Stay tuned for more new topics to be added in 2024!

This year, Sun Life’s DB Solutions team celebrated its 15th anniversary. When the team was formed, it consisted of only a single person. It has now grown to over 40 experts. For 15 years the DBS team has been focusing on creating innovative solutions for de-risking DB pension plans and advocating for market growth.

For a more detailed look at important milestones, visit DB Solutions.

* Registered as financial security advisors in Quebec.