Adult Learning Principles and Pension Participant Behavior

Victor Saliterman and Barry G. Scheckley

Abstract —Most efforts to influence participants in workplace-based retirement plans to take full advantage of investment benefits available to them have limited impact. Despite years of educational initiatives, retirement saving for most Americans remains inadequate. Our study suggests that participants who receive information about their retirement savings in accord with research-based principles of how adults learn best, will markedly increase contributions to their retirement plans. Educational activities that are learner-centered guide participants through a re-cognition of how they can use information about investment options to devise effective financial plans. Activities that engage participants as active, self-determining individuals who will benefit from assistance that helps them to reflect upon, make informed choices about, and take control of their retirement saving plans.