Lead with knowledge: How lifelong learning adds retirement planning value

January 17, 2024

How many retirement plan rules saw changes in the past year? How many are expected to go into effect over the next year or two? Contribution limits, required minimum distributions, catch-up contributions, income limits, tax rates — the retirement planning landscape is always in flux.

Consider, for example, the many changes to retirement plans that have and will continue to go into effect as a result of the SECURE Act 2.0 of 2022.

For financial professionals, staying ahead of constant and complex change is a necessity. Understanding the latest developments is essential for helping plan participants successfully navigate the journey to financial security in retirement.

For plan sponsors, the stakes are equally high. Staying on top of current regulations is a must for meeting fiduciary obligations, but that’s not the only reason to embrace learning opportunities. An optimally planned and implemented retirement plan is an employee benefit that can distinguish you as an employer to attract and retain great talent. 

Not to mention the simple fact that increasing financial security and retirement readiness can help improve the lives of employees and their families.

Whether it’s a new regulation, a shift in market trends or an innovative product or planning tool, every change has the potential to impact the overall picture. For retirement plan practitioners, the greater challenge lies not only in keeping up with new developments, but also in making sure employee retirement plans keep up with changing trends and regulatory requirements.

Retirement planning: An ever-shifting terrain for plan practitioners and participants

Markets fluctuate, economic conditions shift, investor goals evolve — and sometimes major disruptions seem to arise from out of nowhere. Inflation, global trends and technological advancements add layers of complexity to the landscape.

Plan sponsors and participants depend on financial professionals to guide and inform their decision-making with up-to-the-minute knowledge. So, for retirement plan practitioners, it’s not enough to keep up. Clients need help from professionals who know how to stay a step ahead.

Continuous learning equips plan practitioners with the latest updates and innovations to offer sound advice and recommendations, and help plan sponsors make the most of their retirement plan offerings. That means staying on top of:

  • Market trends and economic shifts — to understand the impacts of global markets and economic indicators 
  • Legislation and cascading regulatory changes — to stay in step with compliance requirements
  • Investment and financial vehicles — to assess the viability and suitability of new and innovative options for different plans and their participant demographics
  • Investor goals and challenges — to foresee and address shifts in what participants look for from their retirement plans
  • Tools and technologies — to optimize plan management and provide an excellent experience for plan sponsors and participants

Where to look for valuable learning opportunities

There’s no shortage of resources available for every retirement plan stakeholder. Financial professionals holding industry certifications have to meet continuing education (CE) requirements, which serve to help keep them at the forefront of industry best practices. But there’s always more to learn. Conferences and seminars, industry publications and research reports, government websites and online peer groups can all offer valuable updates and insights. 

Online courses and webinars also provide a particularly attractive option. Flexible, easy to access and diverse in the topics they cover, online learning platforms offer educational opportunities ranging from regular, periodic updates on markets to changing compliance requirements for employer-sponsored plans.

Plan sponsors also stand to benefit by advancing their understanding of the subject, too. Staying informed about plan management is important for meeting fiduciary obligations — but that’s not the only good reason to keep learning. Employers can also explore trends and insights into what employees want and need from their retirement plans, as well as ways to support employees’ overall financial well-being.

Start your learning journey today

Financial professionals and plan sponsors can find these insights and more from Cuna Mutual Group. Register to attend upcoming events — and access on-demand content when it’s most convenient for you.