Ensuring plan members have the financial resources they need for on-time retirement

Retirement readiness is a long-term undertaking, and a slow and steady process. We remained focused in 2020 – despite pandemic turbulence – and continued to engage with plan members to help ensure their future retirement readiness.

Ella encouraged plan members to save with an RRSP or TFSA and explained the benefits of each. As the financial picture slowly strengthened, plan members took action. 

We also educated plan members during Financial Literacy Month and engaged with them through our Financial Wellness Webinar series. More importantly, we added additional topics to help plan members deal with financial issues related to the pandemic.

In addition, we launched a new financial podcast series, Times & Dimes, available on Spotify. And in a year that saw significant periods of market volatility, we continued to offer financial planning support through our Money for Life Retirement Journey.

Throughout November – Financial Literacy Month we reached out to plan members to strengthen their financial literacy and empowered them to save for the future. More than 1 million emails were sent to plan members, with significantly higher rates of engagement than in 2019. 71.7% increase in open rate and more than 81% increase in click-through rate compared to 2019.

Some emails (more than 500,000) also encouraged plan members to complete a MAX Review. By completing this review, plan members could ensure that their savings strategy was aligned with their retirement and savings goals. Again, rates of engagement were significantly higher than last year.  More than 90% increase in open rate and more than 96.3% increase in click-through rate compared to 2019.

Learn more about Financial Literacy Month

For our TFSA campaign in August, plan members received personalized emails from our digital coach Ella. The campaign was focused on building financial resiliency and encouraged plan members to use a TFSA to create an emergency fund.

Our use of Ella has been highly successful. She had more than 7.3 million plan member engagements in 2020, a 50% increase over 2019. And through Ella, plan members have contributed $700 million to their savings.

To further support the TFSA campaign, plan sponsors were sent:

  • a flyer to help them promote the TFSA campaign to plan members.
  • an infographic that highlighted the key differences between RRSPs and TFSAs.
  • A Bright Paper on how TFSAs are used in group plans, the benefits to employers, and the key advantages to plan members.

In addition to targeted savings and literacy campaigns, we hosted ongoing webinars designed to boost plan member financial wellness. In response to COVID-19, we ran 91 education sessions, an increase of 52% over 2019.

We hosted 15 financial wellness topics:

  • Connect with your money
  • Becoming retirement ready
  • Investing: The essentials
  • Staying the course in changing times
  • Reviewing your financial roadmap
  • Managing your savings
  • Balancing your finances:  Understanding credit and debt
  • Saving: The essentials
  • Where there’s a will, there’s a way
  • Your health and your wealth – what’s the connection?
  • Transition and change
  • 5 steps to boost your financial health
  • Creating your retirement roadmap
  • Planning for emergency reduced income
  • Making cent$ of money – budgeting 101

For two of these webinars (“Planning for emergency reduced income” and “Making cent$ of money – budgeting 101”) we partnered with the Credit Counselling Society, bringing their expertise directly to plan members.

Our average attendance rates per session increased from 119 participants in 2019 to 126 participants in 2020 (6% increase).

More than 11,000 plan members participated in the webinar series, a 49% increase from 2019, with many (41%) participating during the first wave of the pandemic in April, May and June.

Watch financial wellness webinars

This past year, we launched a new financial podcast series, Times & Dimes, available on Spotify. The podcast continues to see a consistent month-over-month growth in listeners. The series is hosted by Graham Clark, a three-time Canadian Comedy Award winner and co-host of Maximum Fun's “Stop Podcasting Yourself.”

On each episode, Clark chats with a new guest about their financial journey, personal financial successes or struggles, and how they managed to overcome them.

Listen here

2021 preview

Our engagement with plan members in 2021 will include Ella nudges around retirement readiness, financial security, and healthier lives. It will also include upcoming improvements to the my Sun Life mobile app

Our current decumulation offerings provide a range of solutions for your plan members, but we’ll continue to expand our support. This could include:

  • Updating plan member tools
  • Enhancing our Retirement Consultant and advice offering
  • Expanding variable benefits in Quebec
  • Contributing to industry thought leadership, with a focus on retirement income needs and available support
  • Being a strong advocate, with the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association and regulators, to reinforce the importance of new product innovation.

Our recently launched Planalytics™ will help you make data-driven decisions about your plan. Our new plan sponsor reporting innovation will help you drive better outcomes on your plan.