Fuente: Negocios ProMéxico

Jorge López, founding partner of Vitalis, explains how new technology is encouraging Mexican employees to save more for their retirement.

Mexico is making progress in terms of infrastructure and the production of goods and services associated with new technologies, innovation and development, but there are certain areas that require special attention if the country is to achieve the desired levels of economic development and social wellbeing. One of these is to improve the economic conditions of the country’s senior citizens.

It is an issue representatives of the Mexican government and the business community have been working on. According to Maribel Monterrubio, general manager of Vitalis, a Mexican company with 26 years’ experience in pension plans, the best way to guarantee quality of life for senior citizens is through preventive measures.

On the same note, Jorge López Pérez, a founding partner of Vitalis, believes pension systems around the world have been in crisis for the last five decades because the workforce doesn’t have a culture of saving. “We don’t know when we’re going to die. If we knew, it would make planning simple, but since we don’t, we prefer not to think about it and spend now instead of saving for our retirement.”

López believes there are three lines of action that could turn the situation around. “Firstly, social security contributions should be mandatory. Secondly, we need to inculcate a habit of saving in our children. And thirdly, long-term private and public incentives need to be aligned.” Fortunately, he says, “the government and workers have embarked on a more realistic dialogue on the subject of retirement savings.

A High-Tech Retirement

For the last two decades, Vitalis has been making a concerted effort to improve the quality of life of Mexico’s senior citizens and is convinced a culture of saving would go a long way to solving the problem.

According to López, applying technological innovations to pension funds can make all the difference when it comes to saving. “We came up with an innovative idea: why can’t people save for their retirement while they spend? Why don’t we adopt a model over the 20 to 30 years of our active working lives that allows us to save every time we buy something?”

Vitalis launched the Retirement Miles platform three years ago and now has some big name investors. “The first thing we did was develop the necessary technology to hook up with the social security system (obviously with the permission and backing of the National Commission for the Retirement Savings System).”

Users of the app can access their retirement savings accounts in a click. “When you buy something, the app recognizes your social security number, verifies it and then charges your credit or debit card with the amount you have chosen to save. You decide what percentage of your card expenditure you want to save and that amount is credited directly to your retirement savings account.”

“Some 20 million Mexicans people are registered with the social security system, but another 40 million have made contributions at some point in their working lives. All of these people can use the app to save for their retirement,” says López.

Retirement Miles is in the process of formalizing partnerships with leading brands and companies that have committed to contributing to the pension funds of workers who consume their products, much as a loyalty program works.

Launched in November 2017, the app was not officially available until March 2018, but already it is getting positive feedback and generating valuable qualitative data. “Aside from the backing of the Mexican government, the Mexican Employers Confederation (Coparmex) and other associations have included us in their long-term strategic plans as one of the retirement savings tools workers should have at their disposal. Internationally, too,