Using smartphones to help save for retirement: New online calculator shows group retirement savings plan members how a small increase in contributions builds income in retirement – Great-West Life

LONDON, ON, March 22, 2010 – The Great-West Life Assurance Company today launched an innovative online calculator to help group retirement savings plan members see how even a small increase in their contribution to their employer-sponsored group retirement savings plan can increase their annual income in retirement.

The My 1 per cent advantage calculator can be accessed by plan members using their BlackBerry or iPhone smartphone from

“People want access to resources that can help them make decisions to help achieve their retirement savings goals,” says Michael Campbell, Vice-President, Group Retirement Services Marketing at Great-West Life. “This new calculator not only helps plan members see the difference that a small increase in contributions can make, it also allows them to change their contribution rate quickly and easily.”

Mobile tools are an increasingly popular way to access information, as nearly one in three Canadians with wireless services owns a smartphone*.

With easy-to-read graphics, the My 1 per cent advantage calculator can help plan members get a good picture of what they can do to reach their retirement savings goals. For a 25 year old plan member currently earning $30,000 a year, an additional one per cent of salary – ie. $300 – contributed each year can add up to $1,431 more in annual retirement income.

“We believe we’re first in making this type of tool easily accessible on a smart phone,” Campbell said.

In many instances, plan members can have access to a customized version of the calculator that includes their employer’s matching contribution. This feature is especially timely, Campbell notes, as Canadian employers are increasing contributions to their group retirement savings plans, and more employees are maximizing their contributions to get full employer matching contributions, according to the 2009 Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP) Benchmark Report. (

Respondents to the fifth annual survey reported that employees contributed an average of 4.5% of salary to their defined contribution pension plan in 2009, up from 4.2 per cent in 2008. The report was sponsored by Great-West Life, which has 1.2 million group retirement savings plan member accounts and administers one in three Canadian defined contribution retirement plans.

“As a leading service provider of group retirement plans, we’re committed to developing creative and useful tools that help plan members take action to achieve their retirement goals,” Campbell said. He noted that more than 50 per cent of private sector workers in Canada now enjoy retirement plans at work, with over 70 per cent of this coverage being provided by capital accumulation plans, which include defined contribution pension plans, deferred profit sharing plans, group registered retirement savings plans and group tax-free savings accounts.

“This new tool is just one example of the support and features available to meet the changing needs of group capital accumulation plan members. Employers who offer these group retirement savings plans are working hard with their capital accumulation plan provider to engage their plan members and deliver the support necessary to achieve the best retirement income possible for their employees.”

About Great-West Life

Great-West Life administers over 17,000 group retirement plans and over 1.2 million member accounts, representing nearly 30 per cent of capital accumulation plans (CAPs) in Canada. In the United States, Great-West is the fourth-largest group retirement plan record keeper based on total participants and Putnam Investments adds to the organization’s North American presence in this market. Together we serve over 6 million members.