Nudging – Lessons for Moving Savers and Organizations Toward a Better Retirement

Thursday 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Room: Redbud A

Session Description

Variations on a theme. How do employers help people save for retirement through the work-place, while minimizing the risks associated with making the plan available? A commonly used phrase, which is often attributed to the U.S. Army is: Tell, See, Do. How might these simple terms be applied to saving in a 401(k)? For example, is it enough to tell your employees that the plan is available? In a similar fashion, what about those charged with overseeing the plan? Have they considered fiduciary education? If so, who will provide that service with full disclosure of their incentives?

Learning Objectives

  1. Share insights from the study of behavioral economics: choice architecture, as one example.
  2. Demonstrate why improving choice architecture (only) isn’t enough: the “in” and yet disengaged.
  3. Provide pointers on how industry tested “best practices” can be implemented to protect both savers and fiduciaries responsible for retirement plans.


Mike Smoots

Mike Smoots works at Qualified Plan Advisors as an attorney with a focus on ERISA services. Previously, Mike was a Vice President with a national recordkeeper. He negotiated agreements with asset managers, reviewing investments for their total cost and revenue sharing—maximizing these payments for retirement plan sponsors. He also reviewed hundreds of retirement plans, ranging in size from $10 million to $20 billion, relative to investment selection, plan design and revenue sharing, as a member of the finance team. Mike graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree and earned his juris doctor from the University of Kansas.