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.
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.