NARPP Announces Launch of "Universal Retirement Plan"

NARPP is revolutionizing retirement savings to better serve the 21st century workforce

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- NARPP today announced plans to launch Icon, the first universal retirement plan designed for the 75 million working Americans who do not have access to an employer sponsored retirement plan.

Icon represents the next generation of retirement savings in its integration of the best aspects of large employer-sponsored plans — such as low fees and simplified choices — along with complete portability and a well designed user interface. The result is a high quality, consumer friendly plan that enables people to accumulate more savings, faster and easier than if they had to set up a plan on their own.

"Icon is the retirement plan designed for the realities of a 21st century workforce; that is, for the millions of people who don't have the benefit of an employer sponsored plan," says Laurie Rowley of NARPP. "It is easy-to-use, portable, effective, and has been designed explicitly for the end users' needs. We built Icon from the perspective of what is in the best interest of the everyday saver and worked backwards from there."

Lack of access to a workplace retirement plan can have devastating consequences for people, their families and the economy. Only 13% of people who are uncovered by an employer establish a retirement plan for themselves, which means millions of people will be facing a later-life future of poverty and dependence.

According to NARPP, this is a problem that is only going to be exacerbated as the labor market continues to shift away from traditional employer relationships to independent contractors, commonly referred to as 'gig workers.' It is predicted that gig workers will comprise 40% of the labor market by 2020. 

At the same time, more people are working for smaller employers—so while they may have a traditional employer, only 23% of small employers offer a retirement plan. 

NARPP has been working with some of the most respected industry experts, behavioral finance academics and designers to develop the first offering on the Icon platform — a "Smarter IRA" that will voluntarily default people into a target date fund that is based on the saver's age. NARPP has negotiated with asset managers to provide institutional pricing, which means people using Icon will pay significantly less than average retail fees on an IRA.

In addition to low institutional prices, what sets Icon apart from traditional IRAs is that it is the first holistic retirement plan offered by a non-profit whose mission is help working Americans have a more secure financial future.

NARPP has developed a unique and interdisciplinary approach based in human-centered design and behavioral finance, that addresses the needs of everyday savers throughout their entire retirement savings journey. The result is behaviorally effective communications that lead to increased levels of trust, deeper engagement and increased savings rates. Icon is a sustainable and scalable offering that makes it easier to save more, making it more likely that people will be better prepared for retirement.    

Icon has been designed for independent contractors and 'gig workers,' people who work for an employer that doesn't offer a plan, as well as employers who don't offer a plan but want to help their employees save for retirement.

With a five-dollar per month membership fee, people will have access to a premium experience that provides enhanced features such as personalized information, curated and unbiased financial information, a community of mentors and peers, live education events, and access to Icon. The membership fee can be paid by the individual or by employers on behalf of their employees.

"Icon represents a new model — it is the first fully comprehensive retirement savings system," according to Warren Cormier of NARPP. "Icon encompasses all major components of a successful retirement journey —accumulation, portability, quality and transparency, along with fairly priced funds and behaviorally effective communications that motivate people to save," Cormier explains. 

"IRAs alone only offer assistance on accumulation, and at high costs. However, they don't address the other critical components of a retirement system," says Cormier.

NARPP is the only non-profit that is solely dedicated to helping working Americans save for retirement. The introduction of Icon into the marketplace furthers NARPP's commitment by making it easier for people to save more over time.

"At a time when Americans are shouldering more of the risk and the responsibility for their retirement savings," says Rowley, "it is crucial that there are financial options that help them cope with this burden."

NARPP is launching Icon in 2017.


NARPP (the National Association of Retirement Plan Participants) is a San Francisco-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to advocate for individual savers. Through pioneering research, independent coalition building, and innovative educational programs, NARPP is making financial information transparent and universally accessible for the 145 million working Americans saving for retirement.

Media Contact: Laurie Rowley, NARPP, The National Association of Retirement Plan Participants, 415-509-9687,

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SOURCE NARPP, The National Association of Retirement Plan Participants

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