In this day and age there are many reasons why electronic delivery is the superior method for communicating with plan participants. Here are some of them:
Direct Cost Savings
The incremental cost of printing and mailing participant communications can be substantial. Total printing and mailing costs for all persons participating in 401(k) plans is estimated to exceed $385 million dollars annually.
Increased Retirement Savings
According to a 2018 survey of a cross-section of 401(k) plan recordkeepers the average participant contribution rate among participants who did not visit a plan website was 5.8% of salary, compared with an average 7.8% contribution rate among participants who had used their plan website.
There are also enormous environmental benefits to be had in the form of the reduction of tons of discarded paper every year. If one in five households were to go paperless, 151 million pounds of paper would be saved, 8.6 million bags of waste would not be thrown out, and the environment would be saved from 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Better Retirement Outcomes
The interactivity of e-delivery facilitates participant action and engagement, which often leads to better investing.
Electronic notices enable access anywhere, anytime, with the device of the user’s choosing, and with a better filing system than paper notices.
Electronic disclosure provides better access for the visually impaired, and for other disabled participants. It also provides improved access for participants who prefer to use a language other than English, thanks to free translation software.
A 2011 study of electronic delivery found that, contrary to what some may believe, electronic notices were more secure than paper delivery and more likely to reach their intended recipients.