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Manifest: Consolidating Retirement Accounts Has Never Been Easier

By Mark Ogilbee posted 01-12-2023 07:51 PM

  

Anuraag Tripathi of Manifest

Manifest is an AgeTech Collaborative™ startup that works with providers, employers and individual users to make digitally transferring and consolidating retirement accounts efficient and painless.

Co-founder Anuraag Tripathi sat down with us to tell us more about Manifest, how it works and what’s next for the company.
 


This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
 

What is Manifest all about? 

Manifest is the easiest way to consolidate retirement accounts. Those can be things like 401(k) accounts, which are employer-sponsored accounts; 403(b) accounts, which are for non-profit companies; or TSPs, which veterans use. 

We take all those old accounts that people have accumulated as they have moved across jobs throughout their career, and we consolidate them into one current account. Manifest takes any type of these employer-sponsored accounts and makes them portable. So as people switch from one job to another, their retirement account switches with them. 

 

Let’s say I want to use Manifest to get all my accounts consolidated. What steps do I take? 

Manifest is B2B2C, so we partner with employers to gain access to participants, in order to transfer their accounts. So if your employer partners with us, your employer would share Manifest’s website information with you, and you’d sign up with us. 

From there, every single user journey is a three-part journey. First, Manifest helps you find your old accounts. It’s really easy to forget the names of you old 401(k) providers, usernames and passwords — but with Manifest, you don’t need any of that. We’ll hunt down your old accounts with your employer name. 

Second, we’ll confirm various destination account details. If you’re not sure what accounts to transfer to, we have a virtual transfer advisor; his name is Henry. He understands your situation, and he’ll guide you into one of three options: another employer account; an IRA; or leaving the old accounts where they are, if it’s not in your best interest to consolidate. 

Third, you electronically consent, and we initiate the transfer and run more than 25 checks to make sure everything is done correctly. 

All in all, the user journey with Manifest takes seven to eight minutes, over about a 14-day window. If you did all this on your own, it would take about seven hours over a 60-day window. 

 

OK. Now that I’ve got all my old 401(k)s rolled into a single new one, does Manifest have an ongoing presence with me? 

We recently launched some initiatives that allow us to continually engage with users and help them maximize their retirement outcomes. We did a case study with Northwestern Mutual and offered 150 of our participants life insurance policies; 37 participants actually took that policy. So we helped make them a bit more financially secure. 

Another initiative is to provide financial education for participants. AARP’s materials have been super inspirational with that, because we learned that financial education can be less about quantitative tools like calculators, and more about qualitative “nudges” that encourage users to take an action. Those qualitative things are what Manifest helps with. 

 

It sounds like Manifest could be useful for people even early in their careers. Are there any particular benefits for people who are closer to retirement? 

The average American switches jobs 11 times during their career and has three retirement accounts lying around from those jobs. Manifest hunts those accounts down and gets them all into one account to make sure people are ready for retirement. And we help people throughout the entire time they’re working by helping them participate and contribute to their accounts, so they’re growing their retirement savings. 

And we’ve found that by increasing the portability of the 401(k) benefit, Manifest has been able to increase participation rates for women, minorities and people who haven’t historically contributed to a 401(k) plan. 

 

What’s an obstacle that Manifest has had to navigate? 

We have three main stakeholders: providers, employers and participants. Consolidation benefits all of them, but the value proposition for each one is different. So we’ve had to create an incentive structure within our product to communicate how all three of them win through consolidating these accounts. 

 

What put you on the path to founding Manifest? 

This is my third startup since I graduated from college, but for a while I was working in investment banking in Chicago. I began volunteering to help teachers, firefighters, police officers and others in Illinois move from a pension-based system to a 401(k)-type system, and I saw that this area had a lot of opportunity for me to start something and make an impact. 

 

Where is Manifest headed in 2023? 

Our entire go-to-market motion is partnering with employers, so we’re really excited about a product we recently launched to make it easier for employers to sign up with Manifest. It’s an online portal with a demo-based setup that takes about 30 minutes; then we walk them through on a Zoom call. It’s really easy: There are no integrations, no enterprise contracts, and no cost. So in 30 minutes, employers can be up and running and can launch this benefit to their employees. 

 

To learn more about Manifest and its offerings, visit their website. 

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