Fifty years ago, exercising for fitness wasn’t “cool” and it wasn’t popular. But beginning in the 1970s, a consumer revolution fueled by fitness enthusiasts like Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons—and propelled by a new technology, home video—made fitness a part of popular culture.
Today, new digital tools like the Fitbit have further popularized fitness by giving users improved access to information and immediate feedback. Setting targets and measuring performance and well-being have never been easier, turning exercising into a more positive and engaging experience.
A similar revolution is needed to engage individuals in saving for the long term. Saving for retirement should be an engaging consumer experience rather than a bewildering experience full of numbers, details and fine print. It can be made achievable and interesting through simplified language, useful tools and the ability to track progress in real time.
Although the financial services industry must help lead such a revolution, employers have an absolutely critical role to play given their long history of bringing vetted products and services to their employees, as well as their vested interest in easing their employees’ financial worries in order to reap significant productivity gains. Government, too, must help spur the revolution by expanding pension coverage and individuals’ access to savings programs and products. Here are some keys to these financial fitness goals.