Successful plan sponsorship does more than enable your participants to accumulate money. True retirement success allows participants to draw on that money in a way that supports the type of retirement they want.

Every retiree’s path to meet their goals, including prioritization of the goals, risk tolerance around meeting each goal, and resources available to meet each goal, is different—and can vary quite dramatically. Combine this with unique health, longevity, and tax situations for every retiree and it’s easy to understand why we believe that there is no one-size-fits-all retirement income solution.

So how might you envision this for your participants? Imagine three participants who have three completely different retirement objectives. Each objective requires a unique investment strategy. Here is one way to think about investment strategies that may align with participants’ specific goals:



















Knowing that your participants each have their own dreams for retirement, how can you help them achieve their desired outcomes? We can work with you or your consultant to help ensure your plan is retiree-friendly and aligns investment solutions to different participants’ goals. Here are three ways we can work together to benefit your employees:

1.  Match equity exposure to goals

Providing retirees a choice of investment options can lead to greater retirement income for participants if they’re willing to take on additional risk. Vanguard research shows that while Vanguard Target Retirement Funds are proven to serve a diverse investor population with a broad array of investment objectives, maintaining additional equity exposure at retirement age can produce greater amounts of wealth—which may provide investors with more financial flexibility, additional protection against longevity risk, or both if that is their objective (Figure 1). Taking on this additional equity exposure does not come without trade-offs, such as taking on additional market and downside risk. Participants should think about their primary retirement objectives as mentioned above to determine if increased equity exposure at retirement makes sense for them.



Note: This hypothetical illustration does not represent the return on any particular investment and the rate is not guaranteed.

Source: Vanguard.

2.  Retirement Withdrawal Coach

Six in ten employees find saving for retirement stressful.¹ I’m actually surprised it’s that low. Fortunately, the Retirement Withdrawal Coach can assist participants when they are transitioning into retirement. The Retirement Withdrawal Coach extends the retirement readiness experience to let participants easily translate their nest egg into a monthly retirement paycheck. The tool can model what‐if scenarios to help participants understand how changing their retirement income needs or age will affect their outlook. It gives participants the opportunity to factor in additional savings outside their plan, other income sources (including Social Security), estimated expenses, and assets belonging to their spouse or partner—so they can get a more complete retirement picture. And when they’re ready, participants can start monthly installments—their “retirement paycheck”—directly from the tool.

3.  Offer advice and guidance

Many retirees have complex needs. Many have saved outside of the plan, often resulting in multiple sources of retirement income, including Social Security, spousal accounts, IRAs, taxable savings, and, in some cases, DB plans. These participants could greatly benefit from sound advice and education to navigate what could be the most complex financial stage of their lives. Our research has found that developing a prudent spending strategy that is integrated with a participant’s Social Security claiming decision, implementing a tax-efficient withdrawal strategy, and constructing a portfolio consistent with time-tested investment principles can help to meaningfully extend the life of one’s retirement savings. Advice from Vanguard can do just that and at a reasonable price.

It’s clear that retirement isn’t just about getting participants to retirement anymore. By partnering with Vanguard, you can be more confident that your plan is retiree-friendly and can help participants meet their unique retirement goals.

1 Employee Benefit Research Institute, as of April 23, 2020.


  • All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.
  • Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market.
  • Investments in Target Retirement Funds are subject to the risks of their underlying funds. The year in the fund name refers to the approximate year (the target date) when an investor in the fund would retire and leave the workforce. The fund will gradually shift its emphasis from more aggressive investments to more conservative ones based on its target date. An investment in a Target Retirement Fund is not guaranteed at any time, including on or after the target date.