The secrets of money, unveiled

Tom Foster

By Tom Foster
E. Thomas Foster Jr. is head of strategic relationships for retirement plans for MassMutual.
Posted on Apr 11, 2018

In most mystery novels, a heroic figure emerges to solve a case and clear the fog surrounding a situation few can otherwise fathom. Often the hero is a detective who follows clues, discards false leads and ultimately discovers the truth.

For many people, financial planning topics can sometimes seem to be mysteries as well. Certainly, help from a detective or more appropriately, a financial advisor, may be appreciated to help clear the air.

One clue to the depth of the mystery: a lack of understanding about finances bedevils 39 percent of middle-income Americans who say they find their household finances too complex to manage, with 51 percent of those with household incomes of less than $45,000 saying so, according to MassMutual’s Middle America Financial Security Study.1

Advisors, through the cooperation of employers that sponsor retirement plans and other benefits, may have a real opportunity to shed light on financial subjects and possibly help more people better understand topics that can seem to be shrouded in mystery. Increasingly, advisors and employers are teaming up to demystify the world of money and finance in an effort to enhance workers’ sense of financial wellness and security.

Many employers host educational sessions about basic retirement planning but there is clearly an appetite to probe more deeply and broadly. Two-thirds of respondents to the MassMutual Workplace Benefits Study2 expressed interest in learning more about financial planning services. They wanted to delve into topics such as budgeting, Social Security planning, debt management and others.

Many retirement plan recordkeepers and employee benefits providers are creating educational workshops and modules on a wide range of financial planning topics. Recently, MassMutual published a comprehensive catalogue of workshops available for advisors to present at worksites, either individually or in cooperation with one of our retirement education specialists (RESs).

The catalogue includes workshops on nearly a dozen retirement planning topics, including the basics of an employer’s retirement plan, using web-based retirement planning tools and asset allocation strategies. One module, the RetireSMART Challenge, helps participants learn about their retirement plan using a game show format. Another, Women Invest Differently, explores unique investing considerations for women and their special retirement planning challenges such as living longer than men, taking leaves of absences from employment to care for children, and sometimes earning less than men for comparable work.

Other financial planning topics include managing credit, setting financial goals, creating a budget, the basics of investing, understanding Social Security, planning for college expenses, the benefits of annuities and other personal financial topics. The workshops are designed to help enhance attendees’ financial knowledge as well as their financial wellness.

The modules are available by reaching out to MassMutual relationship managers or retirement education specialists, who can provide further insights into what seminar would be best for a specific audience.

With MassMutual’s workshop topics and the expertise of a knowledgeable financial advisor, financial planning need not be a mystery any longer. You can become the detective for workers as together with a retirement educational specialist, you help them unveil the inner secrets of how money works.


E. Thomas Foster Jr. is head of strategic relationships for retirement plans for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual).




1 MassMutual, "2017 MassMutual Middle America Financial Security Study," June 2017. 

MassMutual, "MassMutual Workplace Benefits Study," February 2018.