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CRES Program Helps Hawaii Fuel Increased Plan Participation

In 2019, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) began a project with National Benefit Services (NBS) to strengthen retirement plan education in the state. This project was started with many circumstances in mind, one of which was the decline in participation in the HIDOE’s 403(b) plan over the previous six years.
Due to many factors, participation in the HIDOE’s 403(b) retirement plan had steadily decreased by approximately 6.5% during that period. It was determined that the largest reason for the decline was a lack of education regarding the benefits of the 403(b) plan and retirement planning altogether. During those years of decline, although the HIDOE continued to fulfill their responsibilities regarding universal availability and meaningful notice, the participation continued to decrease.
The HIDOE decided to partner with NBS (an independent TPA), to coordinate an education program throughout the state. This education program is very similar to the Certified Retirement Education Specialist (CRES) program created by the NTSA.
In February 2019 the program began with a soft rollout to the HIDOE work sites. Throughout the year, the program was able to hold approximately 30 onsite meetings while being able to present to over 500 attendees. The majority of these attendees requested follow-up meetings to discuss their personal retirement needs. With the increase in education, more than 500 individuals learned more about their state pension plan, as well as their Social Security options, 457(b) plan options and 403(b) plan options, and the roles those options play in their financial preparedness toward retirement. This new awareness also led to an increase in plan participation for the first time in more than six years.
Enter CRES
In 2020, the program fully incorporated the CRES certification to help increase advisor participation, improve marketing and education materials, and add a national certification to the program. With these improved tools and national certification, we are excited to see the program’s growth throughout 2020.
The rollout of the CRES program across the country is a great benefit to the Non-ERISA retirement industry and we are excited to be able to provide this program to those who serve us through education.
Finding out More
For more information on the NTSA’s CRES program, click here.
Nathan Glassey, TGPC, QKA, is Vice President, Retirement Services for National Benefit Services.
Opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of NTSA or its members.