Fidelity Delivers Free Tools To Overcome Investor Inertia

Just one in four working Americans has a retirement plan in place, and Fidelity Investments wants to change that.

Next month, the Boston-based mutual fund giant will begin print and TV ads to promote MyPlan, a series of free interactive tools available to individual investors and employees to help plan for retirement--whether you're a Fidelity customer or not.

While Americans like to think of themselves as planners, Fidelity's research found that less than a third of those surveyed said they consider themselves good planners when it comes to their finances.

"Our research shows that the majority of Americans wish they were doing a better job planning and saving for their retirement, but procrastination and inertia may prevent many from ever succeeding," said Robert L. Reynolds, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Fidelity, in announcing the MyPlan program yesterday.

"We know that every American is a planner to some extent, but understanding what motivates individuals to not only create a retirement plan, but also take action and save more, involves behavioral issues, which we factored into the design of the MyPlan offering."

The MyPlan program consists of a largely self-directed interactive planning tool that helps users develop a retirement plan and increase savings. Alerts and some monitors will help investors stay on track, and future versions will include a series of online exercises designed to help users envision their life goals.

Some 58 percent of working Americans feel the hardest part of planning their finances is just getting started, Fidelity found. The MyPlan Snapshot, available in coming weeks, is an interactive calculator that estimates the amount of money individuals may need to reach their retirement savings goals. (Those who register to use the tool will become prospects for Fidelity products.)

Fidelity said yesterday that the first phase of MyPlan will be available to every American investor in the coming weeks at Fidelity.com/myPlan and to employees who use Netbenefits.com.

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