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 (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, November 2011.

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, J., Copeland, C. (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, April 2011, 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 Vol. 32, No. 3, EBRI Notes

VanDerhei, Jack, A Post-Crisis Assessment of Retirement Income Adequacy for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, February 2011, EBRI Issue Brief #354

VanDerhei, Jack and Lori Lucas, The Impact of Auto-enrollment and Automatic Contribution Escalation on Retirement Income Adequacy, November 2010 EBRI Issue Brief #349

VanDerhei, Jack, Retirement Savings Shortfalls for Today's Workers, October 2010, Vol. 31, No. 10, EBRI Notes

VanDerhei, Jack, "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 September 2010, Vol. 31, No.9

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

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

VanDerhei, J., Copeland, C. (June 2008). The Impact of PPA on Retirement Income for 401(k) Participants (vol. 318, pp. 20). Washington, DC: EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, J. (2007). The Expected Impact of Automatic Escalation of 401(k) Contributions on Retirement Income (9th ed., vol. 28, pp. 1-8). EBRI Notes.

VanDerhei, J. (2007). Retirement Income Adequacy After PPA and FAS 158: Part One--Plan Sponsors' Reactions (307th ed., pp. 32). EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, J. (September 2006). "Measuring Retirement Income Adequacy: Calculating Realistic Income Replacement Rates".September 2006

VanDerhei, J. (March 2006). Defined Benefit Plan Freezes: Who's Affected, How Much, and Replacing Lost Accruals, March 2006, EBRI Issue Brief #291

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

VanDerhei, J., Copeland, C. (2004). ERISA At 30: The Decline of Private-Sector Defined Benefit Promises and Annuity Payments: What Will It Mean? (vol. 269). EBRI Issue Brief.

VanDerhei, J., Copeland, C. (2003). Can America Afford Tomorrow's Retirees: Results From the EBRI-ERF Retirement Security Projection Model, (vol. 263). EBRI Issue Brief.