A Retirement Confidence Survey conducted last year by the Employee Benefit Research Institute produced some disturbing findings:
A full 50 percent of respondents said they were “Not Too Confident” or “Not At All Confident” that that they would have enough money to live comfortably through their retirement years. Only 12 percent expressed strong confidence.
Having been in the retirement plan consulting business for over 16 years, those are the types of numbers that ruffle Joe Brummel’s feathers. Which is why, after a sleepless night a few years ago, he got up and wrote out a business plan that eventually formed the basis for iJoin.
Brummel is the chief architect for the newly available retirement planning software, and also the Director of Retirement Plan Consulting at Twin Cities-based Wealth Enhancement Group. He notes that in his experience, emotional factors such as biases, procrastination and decision apathy tend to contribute to the problematic retirement investment landscape. So his emphasis with iJoin was creating a technological solution that heavily incorporated the principles of behavioral finance.
One of the most interesting things about iJoin, from a technical perspective, is that while it was designed with mobile use in mind, it is not a mobile app. Rather, it is a web-based software compatible with smartphones, tablets and computers of any kind. With no download required, it features a user-friendly interface and a process that most people will complete in 20 minutes or less.
By capturing important financial decisions on the spot, Brummel believes, the aforementioned emotional factors can be overcome.
“The accessibility of this process to participants is absolutely key to the psychology of getting things done,” he says.
Brummel runs iJoin Solutions along with four other retirement plan industry veterans: Fred Greenstein, Kendall Kay, Win Cody and BJ Jones. They’re marketing the new product to financial advisors, who can then sell it as a service to their clients for group sessions or webinars. The charge for the software is on a per-participant basis, and only those who complete the process will incur a fee.
iJoin has the ability to generate reports with actionable results and produce secure data files that can be uploaded to record keeping platforms. The general idea is to turn uninteresting educational lectures into engaging and interactive sessions where real actions are taken.
Above all, it comes back to delivering content in a format that the average person can digest and understand, and that’s where Brummel believes his product wins in comparison to other options available.
“We don’t want to overwhelm the user with too much information all at once, which is the traditional mistake that occurs in the industry,” he says. “When you’re talking about technical financial data, and you throw a whole bunch of stuff at people, they just get overwhelmed, and then it’s analysis paralysis. They don’t do anything.”
iJoin is currently utilized by around 20 plan sponsors with hundreds of individual users. Feedback and results have been extremely positive. Brummel’s background has played a large part in helping to shape the software into what it is today.
“I’m not the programmer,” he adds, “but I know what works out in the field.”