Alexa, what’s my 401(k) bal­ance?

Pru­den­tial plan par­tic­i­pants can now use Ama­zon’s dig­i­tal voice as­sis­tant to keep track of their sav­ings progress.

Employee Benefit News - - CONTENTS - By Paula Aven Gla­dych

Alexa, Ama­zon’s voice-con­trol de­vice, is pop­u­lar among users for al­low­ing them to play their fa­vorite tunes, cre­ate a gro­cery list and search the In­ter­net for a myr­iad of an­swers. Now, some users can use the tech­nol­ogy for an even more im­por­tant task: check­ing up on their fi­nan­cial well­ness. Pru­den­tial Re­tire­ment re­cently part­nered with Ama­zon to al­low Pru­den­tial’s de­fined con­tri­bu­tion, de­fined ben­e­fit cash bal­ance and non­qual­i­fied plan par­tic­i­pants to use Alexa to check their ac­count bal­ance, rate of re­turn, any vested amounts and any out­stand­ing loan bal­ances. Scott Gaul, head of sales and strate­gic re­la­tion­ships at Pru­den­tial Re­tire­ment, says that Pru­den­tial looked closely at how its clients were us­ing their re­tire­ment plan web­sites to de­ter­mine the most use­ful func­tion­al­ity for the Alexa skill. When em­ploy­ees log in to their ac­counts, 84% are do­ing so to check their ac­count bal­ance and 39% are us­ing the web­site to check their rate of re­turn. “We looked at the trends and fig­ured we would cre­ate an Alexa skill to al­low par­tic­i­pants to ac­cess this in­for­ma­tion,” he says. To ac­cess the skill, users must have an Ama­zon ac­count and a Pru­den­tial re­tire­ment ac­count. Be­cause of se­cu­rity, users will be asked to give a personal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber ev­ery time they re­quest Alexa to give them their Pru­den­tial re­tire­ment ac­count bal­ance. “It is too early to pull sta­tis­tics, but early in­di­ca­tions are that it has been re­ceived very well — not only by par­tic­i­pants, but em­ploy­ers look­ing for unique and in­no­va­tive ways to help par­tic­i­pants se­cure their fi­nan­cial fu­tures,” Gaul says.

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