Making sure you are saving enough is another, and the difference
between the two is the rationale behind an online peer data
comparison tool launched in the US by Dutch insurer ING.
With a dedicated website (http://www.ingcompareme.com/),
the tool is designed to enable anyone to see where they stand in
relation to others on a wide range of saving, spending, investing,
debt and personal finance matters.
Website users create a personal profile by
entering basic background information, along with optional details,
such as hobbies and interests. They can then access a number of
different personal finance categories, answer a variety of
straightforward questions, and compare themselves with their peer
group members. The process is anonymous.
“We believe INGCompareMe.com offers a unique
and easy way for investors to begin thinking about retirement and
how to reach their goals,” said Richard Mason, president of
corporate markets for ING US Retirement Services. “From what we
know about peer comparison, when individuals benchmark themselves
to others it increases the chance that they will act on those
For example, noted ING, if investors determine
they have saved less in their workplace retirement plans than their
counterparts, it may inspire them to save more.
Initial data for the website has been derived
from a survey conducted by the ING Institute for Retirement
Research of 5,165 people participating in workplace retirement
savings plans. Survey participants were asked some 150 questions on
financial matters with the goal of identifying characteristics that
might affect personal savings behaviour, and find patterns that
reveal why some do better or worse than their peers.
For example, the survey found that those who
spent more time thinking about and planning for their retirement –
including spending time with a financial professional – were also
saving more in their workplace retirement plans.
Indeed, according to ING, savers who spent a
lot more time with a financial professional accumulated 60 percent
more than those who did not spend any time. Even savers that spent
some time with a professional accumulated 40 percent more than
those who did not spend any time.