Transforming retirement communications to help people improve their financial futures
Success Stories | Financial Services

Transforming retirement communications to help people improve their financial futures

Business Issue

The financial services industry has made significant strides to educate, guide and support Americans on their journey to retirement. But this job has never been more important, with 10,000 Baby Boomers reaching retirement age each day from now until 2030. Our client wanted to know how they could help more people secure a dignified, healthy retirement.

Recognizing that it would take more than education to motivate people to prioritize their financial future, our client set out to uncover specific ways the industry could meaningfully change how retirement service companies communicate with the humans they are helping.

What We Did

Escalent worked hand-in-hand with our client to conduct an advanced, multi-phase research study that explored the role frequently-used industry language and imagery play in feelings about—and behavior related to—retirement.

Specifically, we used a complex set of innovative qualitative and quantitative research techniques:

  • A secondary research audit
  • The Hemingway Automated Readability Index
  • Qualitative online bulletin boards and interviews
  • Quantitative surveys
  • Implicit (swipe right/left) testing
  • Multiple behavioral science theories

We revealed findings that uncovered how to spur people to make real, substantive changes to improve their financial futures.


Results from each stage helped inform the next. We found that fact-based statements about retirement resonated most across demographics, and planning statements that position individuals at the center of the discussion around retirement are more likely to encourage action. And somewhat counterintuitive to existing beliefs, written messages are more useful than imagery as images are more subjective and can’t be inclusive to all despite best intentions.

Partnering with our client, we published a white paper featuring the findings. Since its publication, it has been shared on leading retirement media sites and presented at multiple industry events. This research uncovered actionable insights for the retirement industry on how to make retirement communications more widely accessible and drive good retirement behavior that helps people secure their financial futures.

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