Retirement Security Projection Model®

EBRI's Retirement Security Projection Model® (RSPM) simulates the percentage of U.S. population at risk of falling short of the retirement income needed to cover average expenses and uninsured health care costs in retirement (including long-term-care costs).


EBRI’s RSPM® examines:

  • Specific income and age groupings.
  • The likely number of years before those at risk run short of money in retirement.
  • Additional savings necessary to have a 50, 70, or 90 percent probability of retirement income adequacy.

EBRI’s RSPM® began as a major project to provide retirement income adequacy measurement in the late 1990s for three states concerned with whether their residents would have sufficient income when they reached retirement age. EBRI developed a national model in 2003 — EBRI's RSPM.® It was updated in 2010 to incorporate several significant changes, including the impacts of defined benefit (DB) plan freezes, automatic-enrollment provisions for 401(k) plans, and the 2007–2009 crises in the financial and housing markets. Since then EBRI has continued to update RSPM® for changes in financial and real estate market conditions, as well as for underlying demographic changes and changes in 401(k) participant behavior (based on a database of the actual, anonymized account activity of tens of millions of 401(k) participants). 

For more about EBRI’s RSPM,® click here.


RSPM Publications

VanDerhei, Jack (June 2019), "Alternative Realities: The Impact of Extreme Changes in Defined Contribution Plans on Retirement Income Adequacy in America," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (March 2019), "Retirement Savings Shortfalls: Evidence From EBRI’s 2019 Retirement Security Projection Model,®" EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (February 2019), "How Much Would It Take? Achieving Retirement Income Equivalency Between Final-Average-Pay Defined Benefit Plan Accruals and Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans in the Private Sector," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (January 2019), "How Retirement Readiness Varies by Gender and Family Status: A Retirement Savings Shortfall Assessment of Gen Xers," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (January 2019), "Deferred Income Annuity Purchases: Optimal Levels for Retirement Income Adequacy," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (October 2018), "How Much Would OregonSaves Decrease Retirement Deficits in Oregon? Preliminary Evidence," EBRI Fast Facts.

VanDerhei, Jack (September 2018), "How Much Would Auto-Portability Help Retirement Reform Proposals to Reduce Retirement Deficits?," EBRI Fast Facts.

VanDerhei, Jack (August 2018), "T-183: Lifetime Income Solutions as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) – Focus on Decumulation and Rollovers," EBRI Testimony.

VanDerhei, Jack (June 2018), "EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model®(RSPM) – Analyzing Policy and Design Proposals," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (October 2015), "How Does the Probability of a "Successful" Retirement Differ Between Participants in Final-Average Defined Benefit Plans and Voluntary Enrollment 401(k) Plans?," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (August 2015), "How Much Can Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contracts Improve Retirement Security?," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (June 2015), "Auto-IRAs: How Much Would They Increase the Probability of 'Successful' Retirements and Decrease Retirement Deficits? Preliminary Evidence from EBRI's Retirement Security Projection Model,®" EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (March 2015), "How Much Needs to be Saved for Retirement After Factoring In Post-Retirement Risks: Evidence from the EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model,®" EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (February 2015), "Retirement Savings Shortfalls: Evidence from EBRI's Retirement Security Projection Model,®" EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (August 2014), "Contributory "Negligence?" The Impact of Future Contributions to Defined Contribution Plans on Retirement Income Adequacy for Gen Xers," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (June 2014), "'Short' Falls: Who's Most Likely to Come up Short in Retirement, and When?," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (March 2014), "How Would Defined Contribution Participants React to Lifetime Income Illustrations? Evidence from the 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (February 2014), "What Causes EBRI Retirement Readiness Ratings™ to Vary: Results from the 2014 Retirement Security Projection Model,®" EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (December 2013), "How Much Would it Take? Achieving Retirement Income Equivalency between Final-Average-Pay Defined Benefit Plan Accruals and Voluntary Enrollment 401(k) Plans in the Private Sector," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (August 2013), "The Impact of a Retirement Savings Account Cap," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (June 2013b), "Reality Checks: A Comparative Analysis of Future Benefits from Private-Sector, Voluntary-Enrollment 401(k) Plans vs. Stylized, Final-Average-Pay Defined Benefit and Cash Balance Plans," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (June 2013a), "What a Sustained Low-yield Rate Environment Means for Retirement Income Adequacy: Results From the 2013 EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model,®" EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack and Nevin Adams (March 2013), "A Little Help: The Impact of On-line Calculators and Financial Advisors on Setting Adequate Retirement-Savings Targets: Evidence from the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (November 2012), "All or Nothing? An Expanded Perspective on Retirement Readiness," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (September 2012), "Increasing Default Deferral Rates in Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans: The Impact on Retirement Savings Success in Plans With Automatic Escalation," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (August 2012), "Is Working to Age 70 Really the Answer for Retirement Income Adequacy?" EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (June 2012), "Retirement Readiness Ratings and Retirement Savings Shortfalls for Gen Xers: The Impact of Eligibility for Participation in a 401(k) Plan," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (May 2012), "Retirement Income Adequacy for Boomers and Gen Xers: Evidence from the 2012 EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model,®" EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (March 2012), "Modifying the Federal Tax Treatment of 401(k) Plan Contributions: Projected Impact on Participant Account Balances," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (November 2011), "Tax Reform Options: Promoting Retirement Security," EBRI Issue Brief, no. 364.

VanDerhei, Jack (August 2011), "The Importance of Defined Benefit Plans for Retirement Income Adequacy," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack (July 2011), "Capping Tax-Preferred Retirement Contributions: Preliminary Evidence of the Impact of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Recommendations," EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, Jack and Craig Copeland (June 2011), "The Impact of Deferring Retirement Age on Retirement Income Adequacy," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (April 2011), "Retirement Income Adequacy: Alternative Thresholds and the Importance of Future Eligibility in Defined Contribution Retirement Plans," EBRI Notes, vol. 32, no. 4.

VanDerhei, Jack (March 2011), "The Impact of Modifying the Exclusion of Employee Contributions for Retirement Savings Plans From Taxable Income: Results from the 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey," EBRI Notes, vol. 32, no. 3.

VanDerhei, Jack (February 2011), "A Post-Crisis Assessment of Retirement Income Adequacy for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers," EBRI Issue Brief, no. 354.

VanDerhei, Jack and Lori Lucas (November 2010), "The Impact of Auto-enrollment and Automatic Contribution Escalation on Retirement Income Adequacy," EBRI Issue Brief, no. 349.

VanDerhei, Jack (October 2010), "Retirement Savings Shortfalls for Today's Workers," EBRI Notes, vol. 31, no. 10.

VanDerhei, Jack (September 2010), "Retirement Income Adequacy for Today's Workers: How Certain, How Much Will It Cost, and How Does Eligibility for Participation in a Defined Contribution Plan Help?," EBRI Notes, vol. 31, no. 9

VanDerhei, Jack and Craig Copeland (July 2010), "The EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating:™ Retirement Income Preparation and Future Prospects," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (April 2010), "The Impact of Automatic Enrollment in 401(k) Plans on Future Retirement Accumulations: A Simulation Study Based on Plan Design Modifications of Large Plan Sponsors," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (February 2009), "The Impact of the Recent Financial Crisis on 401(k) Account Balances," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack and Craig Copeland (June 2008), "The Impact of PPA on Retirement Income for 401(k) Participants," EBRI Issue Brief, no. 318.

VanDerhei, Jack (September 2007), "The Expected Impact of Automatic Escalation of 401(k) Contributions on Retirement Income," EBRI Notes, vol. 28, no. 9.

VanDerhei, Jack (July 2007), "Retirement Income Adequacy After PPA and FAS 158: Part One--Plan Sponsors' Reactions," EBRI Issue Brief, no. 307.

VanDerhei, Jack (September 2006), "Measuring Retirement Income Adequacy: Calculating Realistic Income Replacement Rates," EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, Jack (March 2006), "Defined Benefit Plan Freezes: Who's Affected, How Much, and Replacing Lost Accruals," EBRI Issue Brief, no. 291.

VanDerhei, Jack (September 2004), "Measuring Retirement Income Adequacy, Part One: Traditional Replacement Ratios and Results for Workers at Large Companies," EBRI Notes, vol. 25, no. 9.

VanDerhei, Jack and Craig Copeland (2004). "ERISA At 30: The Decline of Private-Sector Defined Benefit Promises and Annuity Payments: What Will It Mean?," EBRI Issue Brief, no. 269.

VanDerhei, Jack and Craig Copeland (2003). "Can America Afford Tomorrow's Retirees: Results From the EBRI-ERF Retirement Security Projection Model," EBRI Issue Brief, no. 263.