Subscribe: Email RSS

About the Institute

Helping to improve retirement though innovation and insight into how individuals actually think, feel and make decisions with their finances.


Leading the Way to Understanding Retirement Behavior

The ING Retirement Research Institute (“the Institute”) is here to "help the helpers." The Institute is a valuable resource for those who are charged with helping people prepare for a financially secure retirement. Financial professionals and retirement plan sponsors alike can turn to the Institute for in-depth studies, tools and commentaries to help them better deliver on this critically important mission.

Our goal is to improve retirement outcomes through the introduction of innovative programs coupled with our unique insight into the industry based on how consumers planning for retirement actually think, feel and make financial decisions. We do this by listening to the public through various research initiatives, turning what we learn into applicable knowledge and leading by creating innovative solutions that motivate consumers to take positive action towards ensuring successful retirement outcomes.

Listen. Learn. Lead.

The Institute Approach

The Institute embraces behavioral finance, the widely-regarded study of the emotions and psychology of investing, in general, and with respect to retirement. Data analysis alone tells us what individuals do but not why they do it. Behavioral finance is helping us understand the "whys" of retirement investment behavior.

The Institute focuses on four areas to take the necessary steps from identifying and evaluating to understanding – and ultimately helping to improve – consumer behavior.

'Listen. Learn. Lead.' Details

Consumer Insights Guide Conversations, Communications and Customer Experience

The Institute delivers insights and actionable information through focused publications like these.

Public Employees in Focus White Paper

vPublic Employees in Focus
Gives insight into the minds of today’s state and local government workers.

InSights: Retirement Expectations, Confidence and Realities

Explores retirement expectations and goals - how do people envision their retirement and how confident are they in their ability to achieve that vision.

Beyond the Politics and Pundits

vBeyond Politics and Pundits
Numerous studies and proposals have been initiated to address the issue of “retirement security.” However, this is one of the first studies to actually reflect the prospective of the average consumer.

Turning Research Into Results

The Institute uses consumer insights gathered through research and leverages that knowledge to build retirement solutions. One such study - vLife on the Bench - describes the development of tools that use the influence of peer comparisons to help improve investor behavior:

Turning Research Into Results

Broader approach

ING Compare Me - Broader Approach

ING conducted a number of focus groups and extensive survey work to explore the various criteria on which individuals choose to compare – or benchmark – themselves. The resulting innovation, ingcompareme.comSM, is based on independent data-gathering among the general public. Here are some highlights of the tool's success so far:

  • Over 1,000,000 visitors since January 2009
  • 43% are repeat visitors
  • 69% of traffic from referring sites; 30% direct traffic

Additionally, the tool received national media recognition including:

  • "Top 10 innovation" by Bank Technology News, December 2009
  • CNN Money 2011 Retirement Guide, "Seven Secrets to a Richer Retirement"

Custom approach

ING Compare Me - Custom Approach

ING selected several customers who met the criteria for testing the plan-level benchmarking concept, ranging from mid-sized to very large 401(k) plans and government 457 plans. Results from the exercise helped to validate the notion that peer comparison can help motivate people to positive plan action.

Custom Approach Chart