Would you be interested in a comic book that helps to explain annuities and other retirement vehicles? In The Netherlands, pension plan participants under the age of 35 will be receiving such comic books. “A Comic Approach to Participant-Ed” by Kerry Pechter of the Retirement Income Journal describes the comic books as a little bit racy but mostly educational. The goal of the pension administrator who developed the comic books, SPF Beheer, is to educate their 4,500 under-35 participants about their pension plans. SPF Beheer realizes that many participants, especially the youngest ones, are not reading the material sent to them. They are hopeful that this 96-page comic book will change all that.
The plotline follows a young financial advisor who loves model trains on an adventure dream throughout much of the world. He meets many people on the train trip including a pretty pension representative and a famous starlet who entertain and educate him along the way. The plan is not to overload with information about 401k annuities and pension plans but to lightly touch on the information that SPF Beheer wants its participants to know.
The question remains whether this kind of comic book approach would work in America. Every culture reacts differently to raciness and new ways of communicating in general. Time will tell how the Dutch react to their new retirement information because there are supporters and of course critics as well. Educating future retirees on their options and the details of their annuities, stocks, bonds, and pensions is a goal for any plan administrator. It can be even more difficult to relay information to young workers who feel that their retirement is out of sight. If an entertaining and humorous yet informative comic book can help to meet that goal, maybe it is worth trying out.