The Dirty Secret Advisors Know About Content-Based Financial Wellness Programs

There’s a dirty secret that plan advisors know, but are not willing to admit to employers, and it’s this:

     Financial wellness programs do not change behavior.

So let’s think through this as plan advisor. Even though you know that financial wellness programs do not change employees’ behavior, you’re under pressure to offer a financial wellness program to clients. So you select one that is easy to implement – a program that you don’t have to spend much time implementing or supporting.

Instead of recognizing this employer need as an opportunity to differentiate your services, promote your unique value proposition (i.e. your team and service model) and deliver a profitable new client service, you decide to take the easy way out and provide your client with a content-based financial wellness program providing:

  • Assessments

  • Monthly webinars or seminars

  • Broadly focused online videos and content

After a year (or two if you’re lucky), the employer realizes that employees are not using this service and it’s not worth renewing. So where does that leave you? With the dubious distinction of having introduced a lackluster, or worse, a failed financial wellness program.

Even more than that, you don’t want to be in this firm’s position, where you pick the “safe” solution and then readily admit that you have no point of differentiation or value-add to your financial wellness program (see fourth paragraph). Why bother?

Now I’ll let you in on another secret- this is what employers really want (these are the actual words of a Retirement Benefits Manager for a large retirement plan):

“I would like for the [financial wellness] program to include individualized and actionable steps to reduce debt, improve saving, and increase deferral rates in the 401k plan, without requiring a big up-front investment of time from the employee.”

Now, what if you could meet that employer’s need and also add greater value by providing a solution where a member of your team automatically coached each employee to success? That means you could:

  • Integrate your unique value proposition (i.e. your team)

  • Automate your solution, so that you can easily scale your team

  • Charge for your team’s time spent with an employee

  • Build trust and effortlessly uncover new advisory opportunities

This is financial coaching.

Financial coaching is built around your team, incorporates your service model and is a service, not a tool. Financial coaching also introduces a key ingredient that all financial wellness program are missing:


Without accountability, employees won’t act. It’s that simple. Personal finances are too easy to procrastinate and “do tomorrow” (i.e. never), which is precisely what employees do in content-based financial wellness programs.

Also, in a world where more and more advisory services are “productized,” financial coaching serves as a bulwark against being commoditized and helps you differentiate.

What most advisory firms lack are the skills and resources to build out their own custom solution and that’s where Retiremap 2.0 comes in. We’ve already built a fully customized, branded financial coaching platform that can easily be adapted to your firm.

And for a limited time, we’re offering advisors the chance to pilot Retiremap with any plan having up to 250 employees for only $950/year.

We want to show you how financial coaching can transform how you engage employees and open up a profitable new client service that is also fully aligned with your firm’s mission. Watch this video explaining our new Pilot Program:

There are only a set number of pilot spaces available and they’ll be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you’d like to learn more about the pilot program, watch the video on our Pilot Program page and fill out the form next to it:


Join a Webinar On The New To Do Dashboard

Join us for an informative webinar highlighting how the highly customizable To Do Dashboard coaches employees to achieve their financial goals. We will cover both the behavioral strategies and the technology we used.


  • To Do Dashboard presentation and demo (20 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

Please start registering by entering your name and email address. For those who can’t attend our live session, we’ll provide a recording. The session we are offering include:

Introducing the To Do Dashboard

We’ve just launched the latest enhancement to the Retiremap platform with our new employee To Do Dashboard. We developed the Dashboard with our partners at Duke’s Common Cents Lab in order to take the complexity out of financial decision-making and help people make real progress on their money.

In fact, we created a whole page explaining how it works, so rather than replicating that in this post, you can read all about it here.

Retiremap 2.0 Released After 10 Month Collaboration with Duke University and Renowned Behavioral Economist

SAN FRANCISCO, September 8, 2016 — After an intensive 10 month product and research collaboration with Duke University’s Common Cents Lab, Retiremap is relaunching its financial wellness platform. The new vision for Retiremap 2.0 is based on a close collaboration with renowned behavioral economist, NY Times bestselling author, Wall Street Journal columnist and James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, Dan Ariely.

To learn more about Retiremap 2.0 and the new research-backed platform, attend the launch webinar on Thursday, September 22nd at 11am Pacific:

“We usually think that the best cure for bad financial decisions is financial literacy.  Just teach people, and all will be solved. Sadly this is not the case, and even worse, the evidence is that financial literacy’s effectiveness is close to zero.” said Professor Dan Ariely.  “What we need is a system that takes the complexity of financial decision making, breaks it into actionable components, and coaches us on taking one step at a time. This is what Retiremap is designed to do.”

“Retiremap 2.0 is much more than a financial wellness program- it is a technology platform that works to improve financial well-being using key insights from the field of behavioral economics.  We have created a personalized communications platform that coaches employees based on what research tells us works in real life,” said Matt Iverson, CEO at Retiremap.  “Retiremap 2.0 uses employees’ data to deeply personalize their path to financial wellness, while automating and scaling many of the most impactful aspects of advisor-employee interactions, including confidence-building, trust and the perception of value.  Additionally, in the situations where it makes sense, employees can easily connect live with their retirement plan advisor through any number of channels.”

Retiremap 2.0 will be made available to only a very limited group of retirement plan advisory firms.  The selection process will be announced on the September 22nd webinar. In additional to exclusive access to Retiremap 2.0, selected firms will be able to demonstrate financial wellness thought leadership with exclusive access to some of Duke and Retiremap’s key research findings.


The Retiremap 2.0 platform empowers employers and advisors to deliver:

  • Personalized, automated financial wellness coaching covering a range of needs, including getting out of debt and buying a home

  • An easy and efficient way for employees to connect live with their plan advisors

  • A research-backed model for behavior change

  • Dramatically increased scale and efficiency

  • Unique strategies to boost financial confidence and close the intention-action gap

  • Just-in-time messaging via email, SMS, online and in-app, as well as through channels such as Facebook and Twitter

  • Real-time, plan sponsor level analytics and reporting

“There are no financial wellness programs that come anywhere close to what we’ve built with Duke’s Common Cents Lab and Professor Ariely,” said Iverson. “The combination of Retiremap 2.0’s automated technology and sophisticated use of behavioral economics results in a program to close the employee intention-action gap. Advisory firms that are invested in improving employees’ financial lives and growing through access to a unique, research-backed financial wellness program should attend Retiremap 2.0’s launch webinar.”

About Retiremap

Retiremap ( is a research-backed financial wellness platform designed with Duke University and renowned Professor Dan Ariely to help employees achieve their financial goals.  Unlike existing financial wellness solutions, Retiremap’s personalized, automated coaching platform leverages the presence of the plan advisor to get employees to save more.


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The #1 Reason Retiremap 2.0 Will Change Financial Wellness

To create our new financial wellness platform, we partnered with Duke University’s Common Cents Lab and the renowned behavioral economist, NY Times bestselling author and WSJ columnist, Dan Ariely. It’s the skillful application of proven, research-based, behavioral economics principles that sets Retiremap 2.0 apart.

More education is not the answer. More Powerpoint presentations are not the answer. More one-off employee 1:1s are not the answer.

Personalized, affordable, long-term coaching is the answer (see our data sheet below for details).

So join us when we showcase Retiremap 2.0 alongside our partners from Duke on Thursday, 9/22 at 11am PDT. Space is limited to the first 250 people who register, so sign up today for the free launch webinar.

But the BIG problem with coaching is that it’s so labor intensive and expensive!

With Retiremap 2.0, we’ve designed a way to scale up financial wellness coaching using mobile technology, CRM automation, multi-channel messaging and the 3 Key Concepts Missing from Financial Wellness Programs. It’s very exciting and ground-breaking stuff.


LPL Selects Retiremap as a Financial Wellness Solution

SAN FRANCISCO – August 14, 2015 –  LPL Financial has selected Retiremap for inclusion in its new Vendor Affinity Program*.  The Retiremap program, designed specifically for retirement plan advisors and their plan sponsor clients, expands upon the employee engagement and financial wellness solutions available to LPL advisors.

“We are excited to work with LPL and their retirement plan advisors to deliver the first financial wellness program created specifically to maximize advisor value with their plan sponsor clients,” said Matt Iverson, CEO and Founder for Retiremap.  “With a full-service program that makes plan advisors measurably more impactful, Retiremap’s unique engagement process combines today’s technology and behavioral economics to help employees achieve their financial goals.”

Based on research by leading behavioral economist and NY Times bestselling author, Dan Ariely, Retiremap engages employees and creates a personalized plan to help them achieve their financial goals.  Designed with retirement plan advisors in mind, Retiremap is a branded, turnkey program that both saves advisors time and increases revenue. For plan sponsors, Retiremap increases employee engagement and improves financial wellness, while reducing fiduciary liability.  For employees, Retiremap’s personalized program gets them financially on track, while also increasing plan enrollments and savings rates.

“We recognize that technology is a major contributor to creating increased efficiency and driving greater productivity in our clients’ businesses,” said Victor Fetter, LPL Financial managing director and chief information officer. “Being able to connect LPL clients with leading technology solution providers adds a new dimension to the level of service and support we can provide to clients to help them manage and grow their businesses.”

“What sets Retiremap apart is complete alignment with the plan advisor’s business model along with a service model where each advisory firm has their own Retiremap relationship manager,” said Iverson.  “Retiremap’s aspirational, holistic approach doesn’t just focus on consumer debt, but also encourages employees to save more in their retirement plan while accomplishing their financial goals.”

For retirement plan advisors working directly with employees, Retiremap facilitates deeper employee engagements through the fun goal-setting process, personalized emails and automated appointment setting.  Designed to increase plan advisor efficiency and deliver a highly personalized employee experience, Retiremap’s Advisor Management Interface allows advisors to review an employee’s financial goals and household profile prior to any interaction.

* The Vendor Affinity Program is a new initiative designed to help advisors reduce the complexity and costs of running their businesses. by offering a centralized repository of vendors that have agreed to provide their products and services to LPL advisors at discounted prices.

About Retiremap

Retiremap partners with retirement plan advisors and their plan sponsor clients to provide an award-winning financial wellness program that helps employees achieve their financial goals. Retiremap’s web and mobile software applications are based on research by leading behavioral economist and NY Times bestselling author, Dan Ariely, and drive positive changes in employee behavior, including higher savings rates and greater engagement in the retirement plan. Retiremap’s customized Plan For Your Future iPad workshops help employers drive the retirement plan concept in fresh new ways, while measuring plan advisors’ positive impact with employees. For more information, visit

About LPL Financial

LPL Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of LPL Financial Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:LPLA), is a leader in the financial advice market and serves $485 billion in retail assets. The Company provides proprietary technology, comprehensive clearing and compliance services, practice management programs and training, and independent research to more than 14,000 independent financial advisors and more than 700 banks and credit unions. LPL Financial is the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer since 1996 (based on total revenues, Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2015), is one of the fastest growing RIA custodians with $105 billion in retail assets served, and acts as an independent consultant to over an estimated 40,000 retirement plans with an estimated $120 billion in retirement plan assets served, as of March 31, 2015. In addition, LPL Financial supports approximately 4,300 financial advisors licensed with insurance companies by providing customized clearing, advisory platforms, and technology solutions. LPL Financial and its affiliates have 3,352 employees with primary offices in Boston, Charlotte, and San Diego. For more information, please visit

Financial Wellness Gains In Popularity for Employers

Financial wellness programs are becoming more and more prevalent as employers, large and small, rethink the importance of helping their employees achieve financial goals and become retirement ready.

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, most companies feel somewhat responsible for the financial wellness of their employees, and most companies believe that financial wellness programs will be standard in 10 years. Employers’ growing concerns over their employees’ financial situations make sense, especially since 20% of employees report that issues with personal finances have been a distraction at work. Financial stress causes employees to be less productive in the day-to-day and more dissatisfied with their employers in the long run. Financial wellness programs are not only good for employees; they can also help improve the bottom line for employers.

The Financial Wellness Trends one-pager summarizes key findings from four major studies released earlier this year. It provides essential information for quickly understanding the current state of financial wellness, from the perspective of the employer and employee.

Retiremap Launches Research Team

Recognizing a hunger for real-life data from employees on their financial challenges and goals, Retiremap has launched a Research Team to aggregate user data and look for interesting trends that will help retirement plan advisors, employers and retirement plan providers better understand employee financial wellness issues.

Access to this research will be included in the upcoming quarterly Industry Insights publication from Retiremap.

How Financial Wellness Reduces Fiduciary Risk

If you missed the recent webinar “How Financial Wellness Reduces Fiduciary Risk” covering how a program such as Retiremap can mitigate fiduciary liability for plan sponsors, you can listen to the webinar or review the slides below.

These slides were developed with the assistance of The Wagner Law Group expressly for the benefit of Retiremap and are not appropriate to extrapolate to another financial wellness program.


Blue Prairie Group Uses Retiremap to 
Win Industry Award for Financial Wellness

Advisor-driven financial wellness program wins top industry award by measurably improving employee outcomes, while providing advisors with tools to be more impactful.


SAN FRANCISCO, September 24, 2014 — Leading ERISA retirement consulting firm Blue Prairie Group partnered with Retiremap to win a PSCA Signature Award with “High Distinction” for the Financial Wellness program it developed on behalf of a plan sponsor client.  The Signature Award was presented at the Plan Sponsor Council of America’s 67th Annual National Conference held in Miami, Florida.


2014 SIGNATURE AWARDS- Financial WellnessUsing Retiremap’s Plan For Your Future iPad workshops and working closely with the client, Blue Prairie Group education specialists achieved the following results for its client:

  • 61% of employees were engaged in the first month through iPad workshops
  • 42% of iWorkshop attendees decided to increase their deferral rate by an average of 5.7% of pay
  • 47% of iWorkshop attendees requested to talk with a Blue Prairie Group financial advisor
  • 15% of iWorkshop attendees expressed interest in auto-escalating their savings rates
  • 99% of employees completed the ten minute goal-setting process
  • 98% of iWorkshop attendees felt more engaged with the 401(k) plan
  • 97% of iWorkshop attendees felt they now have helpful tools to reduce stress related to their personal finances
  • 97% of iWorkshop attendees would recommend the workshop to a co-worker
  • 97% of iWorkshop attendees felt the new financial wellness program was an excellent addition to the benefits package (45% strongly agreed)

The goal of the financial wellness program was to engage employees, get them to save more for a secure retirement and help Blue Prairie Group education specialists have more impactful one-on-one employee meetings to improve financial wellness. The iPad workshops proved so successful, that a second full day of one-on-ones meetings with Blue Prairie Group education specialists was scheduled for employees.

“This particular clients experience was particularly satisfying because it validated some of the education campaigns basic assumptions about the importance of establishing a broad-based financial wellness framework and the real hunger participants have to speak to experienced advisors who can render powerful advice free of conflict and product sales,said Matt Gnabasik, Managing Director at Blue Prairie Group.The client should also be commended for providing the commitment in terms of time and resources to make our joint efforts so successful.”

“Retirement plan advisors who are strong advocates on behalf of participants are ideally positioned to offer financial wellness to plan sponsors, We see winning alongside Fidelity and Transamerica as recognition that an advisor-driven financial wellness program is uniquely positioned for success,”said Matt Iverson, Founder at Boulevard R.  “There is a real demand for financial wellness solutions from plan sponsors, as we saw in our packed session at PSCA.  By creating a program that is more engaging than what most providers offer, and also making plan advisors measurably more impactful with employees, we can have a profoundly positive impact on employees’ financial wellness.”

The Retiremap program was developed with leading behavioral economist and NY Times bestselling author, Dan Ariely from Duke University.  The 30-minute Plan for Your Future workshops provide up to 30 employees at a time with an iPad, allowing them to do a holistic retirement readiness assessment and get a personalized Starter Roadmap.  For employees who cannot participate in the iPad workshops, account activation links are emailed out and they can also access the platform through a custom employer website.