EBRI Issue Brief

EBRI Research Highlights: Retirement Benefits

Jun 1, 2003 28  pages


The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research organization based in Washington, DC, that has been researching economic security issues for almost 25 years. Founded in 1978, its mission is to contribute to, encourage, and enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education. EBRI does not lobby and does not take positions on legislative proposals. EBRI receives funding from individuals, employers of all types, unions, foundations, and government.

EBRI's research work has focused on retirement- and health-related issues, particularly involving pension/retirement plan coverage and health insurance coverage in the employment-based benefits system. EBRI is a major source of unbiased data on the uninsured and current trends involving 401(k), IRA, and traditional pension-type retirement plans. EBRI research programs also include development of the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database, the largest and most detailed of its kind; pioneering research into the quantification of U.S. retirement income adequacy; and economic modeling of Social Security reform proposals.

This EBRI Special Report/Issue Brief synthesizes highlights of recent EBRI research on retirement benefits. The previous Issue Brief (May 2003) presented recent EBRI research on health benefits. It should be stressed that this document contains only highlights of EBRI's collection of research and analysis; for greater detail and information, visit EBRI's Web site (www.ebri.org) or contact EBRI directly.

Retirement data in this document include:

  • Basics of benefits.
  • Assets in retirement plans.
  • Participants in retirement plans.
  • 401(k) trends.
  • Individual retirement accounts.
  • Social Security.
  • Lump-sum distributions.
  • Public opinion.
  • Small employers.