A Soul Search for Successful Outcomes
FOR WELL OVER A DECADE, Chris Roper has helped people from all walks of life plan and save for retirement. But something changed in 2019. For the first time, Roper, a Partner and Plan Success Consultant with Overland Park, Kansas-based Qualified Plan Advisors, took an eye-opening trip through Southeast Asia.
Traveling alone gave him time to reflect on his true passion: the personal interactions from working with employees to improve their financial health. He concluded “doing well by doing good” mattered most, and he re-emphasized his singular vision of eventually helping over a million people improve their financial lives.
With his goal and passion aligned, he returned home and hit the ground running. Joining Qualified Plan Advisors (QPA), he benefited from Scott Colangelo, Matthew Eickman, and other high-profile QPA team members’ expertise to consistently improve participant outcomes.
His passion and excitement are palpable.
“The core of our company is to ‘inspire people to achieve their life’s ambitions,’ and we believe that communicating the right information and showing that you care helps people to make better financial decisions,” he said.
The initial keys to a participant’s successful retirement outcome are (1) getting them in the right investment; and (2) getting them to save appropriately. While auto features can be a great option, he believes that helping people make an active decision gives them ownership in their success, which will lead to better outcomes.
“They’re more likely to stay invested when the market drops,” Roper added. “This helps counteract the bad behavior of selling low. It helps remove the fear of investing and opens them up to saving at higher levels.”
Roper also utilizes Aon Hewitt’s “The Real Deal” study to help participants understand how much they should be saving. It gives them a target savings rate that, unfortunately, most have never heard of and acts as a needed wake-up call to get them back on track. Far from a 3% default or even more commonly seen 6%, it’s much higher.
“Most people are shocked when they hear that a 25-year-old retiring at age 67 needs to save 16% of their pay, including company contributions,” he explained. “My careful delivery of this message helps participants to make decisions that will ultimately improve their financial futures.”
He recently faced a difficult challenge while planning employee education sessions for a new client. Roper spent four weeks meeting with employees in office locations spread over four states.
He conducted 79 group meetings and logged over 3,000 miles of drive time. It was well worth it. With the help of his QPA team members, he was able to achieve the following results:
• 588 participants in attendance
• 574 made an active decision for their investments and deferrals
• 148 one-on-one meetings were conducted
• 360 participants elected a portion of their contribution to a Roth savings account
• 394 participants saved above the company match
As one would imagine, Roper is extremely proud of getting over 97% of participants to make
an active decision and getting 67% of participants to choose to save above the already generous company match.
See the article on 401(k) Specialist.
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