EBRI Issue Brief

Retirement Confidence Survey 2000 - Including Results from the RCS Minority Survey and the Small Employer Retirement Survey

Jun 1, 2000 24  pages


The year 2000 represents the 10th anniversary of the Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) and the third year for the Minority RCS and Small Employer Retirement Survey (SERS).

Key RCS findings over the past 10 years include:

  • The fraction of workers saving for retirement has trended upward, and today 80 percent of households report that they have begun to save.
  • The fraction of workers who have attempted to calculate how much they need to save for retirement has risen noticeably over the past several years. Today, 56 percent of households report that they have attempted the calculation.
  • One-half of workers who have attempted such a calculation report that it has changed their behavior, such as saving more and/or changing where they invest their retirement savings. Workers who have done the calculation appear to be in better shape regarding their retirement finances.
  • Worker confidence in the ability of Social Security to maintain benefit levels bottomed out in 1994 and 1995. Workers today are just as confident as they were in 1992, although the majority remain not confident in Social Security.
  • Regarding overall retirement confidence, Hispanic-Americans tend to be the least confident among the surveyed minority groups that they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years.

Key SERS findings include:

  • While cost and administrative issues do matter to small employers, they are not the primary reasons for low plan sponsorship rates. Employee-related reasons are most often cited as the most important factor for not offering a retirement plan. Business-related reasons, such as profitability, are also a main decision-driver.
  • It is important to note what small employers without plans do not know about plan sponsorship. Small employers that do sponsor a retirement plan report that offering a plan has a positive impact on both their ability to attract and retain quality employees and the attitude and performance of their employees. The survey results indicate that many small company nonsponsors may not be aware of such potential business benefits from plan sponsorship.
  • In addition, many nonsponsors are unaware of the plan options available to them, in particular the ones created specifically for small employers, such as SIMPLE and SEP retirement plans. Therefore, some small employers may be making a premature decision not to sponsor a plan based on incomplete information.