Encouraging Workers to Save: The 2005 Retirement Confidence Survey

April 2005
EBRI Issue Brief #280
Paperback, 32 pp.
PDF, 965 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2005

Download Issue Brief PDF pdf

Executive Summary

This Issue Brief reports findings of the 15th annual Retirement Confidence Survey ® (RCS), which points to potential solutions to the American retirement savings problem, specifically ways that could help workers save more through their employment-based retirement plans.

Importance of Employer Match: More than 7 in 10 workers not currently contributing to their employer-sponsored retirement plan say an employer contribution of up to 5 percent of their salary would make them much more or somewhat more likely to participate (72 percent).

Simplified Options: Other retirement plan options that nonparticipants say would make them more likely to contribute are an investment option that automatically becomes more conservative as their retirement date approaches (66 percent) and a feature that automatically raises workers’ contributions by a fixed amount or percentage when they receive a pay raise (55 percent).

Automatic Enrollment: Two-thirds of nonparticipants indicate they would be very or somewhat likely to remain in their employer’s plan if they were automatically enrolled (66 percent).

Social Security: Nearly 7 in 10 of today’s workers are skeptical that Social Security will continue to provide benefits of at least equal value to those received by current retirees (68 percent). This proportion has remained relatively constant in recent years, but is below the 1995 level (79 percent). Workers continue to be unable to identify the age at which
they will be eligible for full Social Security benefits.

Most Behind Schedule in Saving: A majority of workers believe they are behind schedule when it comes to planning and saving for retirement (55 percent). Most of those behind schedule say that high expenses, particularly everyday expenses (49 percent), child-rearing expenses (39 percent), and medical costs (35 percent), are a major factor in keeping them from saving.

Less Than Half Have Tried to Calculate Needed Savings: Approximately 4 in 10 workers say they have tried to calculate how much they need to accumulate for retirement. More than one-third of these workers say they asked a financial advisor to calculate this number or used their own estimates; 10 percent say they simply guessed how much they will need in retirement.