The 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey: Having a Retirement Savings Plan a Key Factor in Americans’ Retirement Confidence

April 2015
EBRI Issue Brief #413
Paperback, 40 pp.
PDF, 1,065 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2015

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Executive Summary

The 2015 annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) marks the 25th year of the RCS, making it the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation. Among this year’s highlights:

  • Whether or not Americans have a retirement savings plan is a key factor in their outlook about having an affordable retirement. The 2015 RCS by EBRI/Greenwald & Associates finds that the nation’s retirement confidence continues to rebound from the record lows experienced between 2009 and 2013—but this is based on the increasing optimism of those who indicate they and/or their spouse have a retirement plan.
  • The percentage of workers confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, at record lows between 2009 and 2013, increased in 2014 and again in 2015. Twenty-two percent are now very confident (up from 13 percent in 2013 and 18 percent in 2014), while 36 percent are somewhat confident. Twenty-four percent are not at all confident (statistically unchanged from 28 percent in 2013 and 24 percent in 2014).
  • The increased confidence since 2013 is strongly related to retirement plan participation. Among those with a plan, the percentage very confident increased from 14 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2015. In contrast, the percentage very confident remained statistically unchanged among those without a plan (10 percent in 2013, 9 percent in 2014, and 12 percent in 2015).
  • Retiree confidence in having a financially secure retirement, which historically tends to exceed worker confidence levels, also increased, with 37 percent very confident (up from 18 percent in 2013 and 27 percent in 2014). The percentage not at all confident was 14 percent (statistically unchanged from 14 percent in 2013 and 17 percent in 2014).
  • Worker confidence in the affordability of various aspects of retirement has also rebounded. In particular, the percentage of workers who are very confident in their ability to pay for basic expenses has increased (37 percent, up from 25 percent in 2013 and 29 percent in 2014). The percentages of workers who are very confident in their ability to pay for medical expenses (18 percent, up from 12 percent in 2011) and long-term care expenses (14 percent, up from 9 percent in 2011) are slowly inching upward.
  • Cost of living and day-to-day expenses head the list of reasons why workers do not save (or save more) for retirement, with 50 percent of workers citing these factors. Nevertheless, many workers say they could save a small amount more. Seven in 10 (69 percent) state they could save $25 a week more than they are currently saving for retirement.

Related Documents

2015 RCS Fact Sheet #2: Retirement Expectations

2015 RCS Fact Sheet #3: Retirement Preparations

2015 RCS Fact Sheet #4: Age Comparisons

2015 RCS Fact Sheet #5: Gender/Marital Comparisons

2015 RCS Fact Sheet #6: Social Security/Medicare

2015 RCS Fact Sheet #7: Support/Care in Retirement

2015 RCS Fact Sheet #8: Social Security Income

2015 RCS Fact Sheet #1: Retirement Confidence