Empower Retirement Review: Should you have it?

By Altay Gursel | October 8, 2020

All you need to know about Empower Retirement

Home / Retirement / Empower Retirement Review: Should you have it?

If you make retirement plans you need to work with a qualified retirement planning company. A good retirement company should have expert knowledge to provide professional guidance.

Empower Retirement is the second-largest retirement plan provider and a record keeper company in the US. It helps millions of Americans every year with their retirement planning.

Here is how does company work in short.

Empower Retirement acquires relevant information from its customers to understand their individual situation. The information collected is usually are clients’ financial goals, financial assets, Social Security, home equity, etc. They put all the collected information together as if they build a big puzzle. Doing so they try to provide the most customized service to its clients.

The company Background

Empire Retirement was founded in 2014 when Great-West Life combined the relevant services of Great-West Financial, Putnam Investments, and JPMorgan Chase. Its headquarter is located in Denver, Colorado. 

Empower Retirement

The company has over 6,100 employees and $653 billion in assets under management. It serves 40,000 plans to its 9.4 million members. Empower Retirement is a subsidiary of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance. 

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Offered Services

Retirement planning

Empower Retirement offers many innovative tools and services to help its clients to provide the best options for their current conditions.

Their retirement planners have in-depth knowledge of taxes, Social Security, and retirement plan rules. They analyze each retirement case separately by considering each and every variable that may affect each client’s individual situation. 

Brokerage Company

Empower Retirement also serves as a brokerage company, an intermediary between financial securities buyers and sellers. It works to bring buyers and sellers onto a single platform and helps them to satisfy their needs. Needless to say, they extract commission to profit from each transaction made on them.

Advisory Services

Along with your 401k account, you can get advisory services from Advised Assets Group, LLC.  There are three advisory levels. Managed accounts, Advice, and Guidance.

The managed account is administered by an advisor who invests as per your retirement goals.  The advice service is a one-time adjustment of your retirement account. The Guidance Services are a one-time advice to allocate your assets. Guidance services are cost-free, but can only be provided once per account.

Platform Usability

You can access the Empower Retirement account online, and it is fairly easy to use. In general, it provides a friendly user experience for the clients, allowing participants to monitor and manage their plans.

You can monitor your account balance and total return on investment through the platform. It presents very satisfactory visual data to respond to most of your questions that you may have.

You will find bar charts, graphs and visual representation of the platform that is truly beautiful and a pleasure to use.

You can follow the performance of your investment, pending or unpaid fees as well as your contributions. However, If you want to know your portfolio’s gross expense ratio, you will need to calculate it yourself.

Range of Features

There may be times you may want to different type of data printed on a single graph.

That is entirely achievable on their platform.

Empower lets you compare various investments on a single graph to give you more of a comprehensive look at the data to help you determine where you should put your money. 

Their interactive investment tools make it possible to customize your current and future investment allocations.

If you want to you can set up an account to rebalance on the frequency basis you want (quarterly, semi-annual and annual basis). This is more like for the investors who are the fans of the hands-off approach.

There’s also the Dollar Cost Averaging option, which is an average automated dollar-cost program that helps users determine the rate and time they want to spread their investments through.

Portfolio Analysis

Empower helps you invest in stocks on the stock market, stable value funds, bonds, large and small-cap funds, international funds, and mutual funds. What that means you build a versatile portfolio rather than putting all of your eggs into one basket.

You can invest in over 130 mutual funds spanning many asset groups.

The brokerage option opens you up the doors of over 300 mutual fund families, possibly hundreds of other individual mutual funds, over 1,400 ETFs and stocks.

Using Empower Brokerage IRA option you can have on-demand access to your retirement accounts and monitor your balances anytime you want.

Empower also offers roll in services. You can consolidate your accounts that may be at somewhere else into a single qualified retirement plan. This can be very useful to save time and manage your multiple accounts from a single place. In return, you will have fewer processes to follow and peace of mind. 

You can also empower the life of your employees to secure a better retirement for them. 

Empower Select

Empower Select is a new value-driven retirement plan to help growing organizations save time, decrease costs and increase efficiencies.

It offers:

  • Fine selected products and services.
  • An experience that engages and helps employees take positive action.
  • A suite of services to help clients manage their administrative and fiduciary responsibilities.
  • A suite of services intended to help your clients handle their administrative and fiduciary duties.
  • A fine selection of more than 1,000 investment options from some of the country’s most recognized investment managers.

Empower Up

An environment that places workers at the forefront of what the company does.

The companies use it to provide their employees with more creative and intuitive tools to help employees see the big picture and achieve financial well-being.

Personalized communications and investment strategies to help each employee take positive action on their retirement journey. Professional support from licensed retirement representatives trained to assist employees in their transition to a plan or to seek financial wellness advice.

Empower MORE

Helping the clients handle their administrative and fiduciary obligations is a suite of tools designed to help make schedule operations simpler by:

Use data to help ensure that workers obtain reminders and educational correspondence as needed. You can give your clients the opportunity to keep track of their real-time schedule activities to help enhance plan design.

Plan Service Center

A digital hub easy to use to help your customers access details, track and compare their plans.

Analytical instruments used to track the effects of a program. Reporting and checking on-demand to view plan success. A fiduciary archive that holds a full record of all changes relevant to the program, offering security to the fiduciary planners.

Customer Service

You can call Empower’s customer support lines during working hours. Their representatives will help explain policies, assist with rollovers, address questions about plans, and more.

They can’t give you legal or financial help/advice, though.

If you need dedicated help as a participant, dial 1-855-756-4738. You can also call 1-877-630-4015 whether you are a program manager or need to talk to a financial advisor, third-party administrator or consultant. Note that calling the latter number may incur fees.

Fees, Costs & Expenses

There’s a fixed $39 account maintenance fee charged annually. You can find additional services fees and investment return rates in this File.

In terms of consulting services, if you go to a managed account, the first $100,000 is processed with an annual charge of 0.65%.  The applied charges will be less if you invest more than this amount. If you need specialized advice level of service, you will need to pay a fixed $25 annual fee.

Empower Retirement offers competitive rates and reduced fees for their brokerage services. However, you will know all charges that you will be expected to pay in advance, therefore expect no surprises. 

Empower 401k Review

Empower has a compelling 401k plan.

The following are some points that differentiate Empower as a brokerage: features such as the automatic rebalancing and dollar-cost averaging option provide customers with easy-to-use analytical and investment tools.

The platform has many tools and calculators to help you develop a plan for retirement savings.

They offer a wide variety of investment options that are extended exponentially if you opt for the brokerage option.

The three levels of advisory services are structured to suit everyone’s needs.

Employers may want to utilize offerings like the managed account advisory services as a part of their flexible benefits plans.

What is Empower Best Known for?

Empower is best known as the second-largest provider of pension plans and retirement brokerage services.

Empower is most suitable for:

  • Beginner Investors
  • IRA Accounts
  • Seasoned Investors
  • High-Balance Customers
  • Platform-Conscious Traders

Empower has traditionally incorporated programs for employers, which could include helping to build opportunities for their workers.

Is the Empower 401k Plan Right for You?

Through 40 regional offices throughout the US, Empower can be located in almost every state. It provides one of the country’s best retirement and record-keeping services. Moreover, Empower allows you to use its brokerage services for a more hands-on investment approach.

This offers average returns on most investments, but advisory services help you make smarter and more flexible investment decisions to improve your returns. You should definitely compare the Empower 401k plan with the other company’s services before making any final decisions with your investments.

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