WASHINGTON, DC: The Social Security Administration is sending a message to the American public - and not just the elderly - that better financial planning is needed for retirement.
WASHINGTON, DC: The Social Security Administration is sending a
message to the American public - and not just the elderly - that better
financial planning is needed for retirement.
The SSA, historically not an organization that has paid much attention
to PR, has launched a campaign touting the benefits of better retirement
planning. The effort will be highlighted by a series of PSAs (themed
’the future is in your hands’) and the mailing of 125 million ’Your
Social Security Statement’ pamphlets to Americans 25 and older. This
represents a substantial shift from past years, when only those 40 and
up were sent information by the organization.
Joan Wainwright, the SSA’s deputy commissioner for communications, said
earlier efforts to publicize retirement strategies lacked punch. The
previous retirement strategy pamphlet, a six-page ’Personal Earnings and
Benefit Estimate Statement,’ was recently deemed inadequate by focus
groups, which criticized both its title and design. Hence the more
succinct moniker and easier-to-read four-page format.
The PR campaign will also entail a greater public profile for the SSA’s
upper management. Commissioner Kenneth Apfel is booked to appear on
NBC’s Today show and CBS’s This Morning on October 1 to discuss the
mailings, and the organization’s communications department is trying to
line up other appearances on nationally broadcast news programs.
Additionally, SSA reps have made personal media appearances in the
nation’s top-30 media markets, while satellite media tours are being
conducted in 20 others.
Radio, TV and print PSAs in English and Spanish are scheduled to start
running next month, emphasizing that the sooner people start planning
their financial future, the easier it will be for them to meet or exceed
their financial goals. Generally, the rule is that the average person
needs to have an annual income totaling 70% of their pre-retirement
income to live comfortably after leaving the work force.
In-house creative services for the PSA series - rumored to have reached
dollars 300,000 in production costs - were provided by the SSA’s Charles