Website: Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). As noted on their website, the mission of the EBRI is to contribute to, to encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education. Founded in 1978, the EBRI declares three principles:
- Employee benefit plans serve an essential function in the United States economy by providing citizens with opportunities to achieve financial security.
- An ongoing need exists for objective, unbiased information regarding the employee benefit system, so that decisions affecting the system may be made based on verifiable facts.
- In all its activities the Institute shall function strictly in an objective and unbiased manner and not as an advocate or opponent of any position.
I am a huge fan of their surveys, particularly the Retirement Confidence Surveys (RCS). Each survey contains a core set of questions that is asked annually, allowing key attitudes and self-reported behavior patterns to be tracked over time. Sample questions include: how confident are Americans about their retirement income prospects, including Social Security and Medicare; how much money have they saved for their future and where are they putting their money; who they turn to for retirement investment information and advice; and why individuals are not saving more and what would motivate them to do so. The RCS also strives to be timely by covering issues that are of current interest to policymakers and retirement benefits specialists; past examples include participant education in 401(k) plans and understanding of IRA eligibility.
In the early part of my book, RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit, I discuss the state of retirement planning in the United States. A good deal of that material was derived from the 2013 RCS, published as the March 2013 EBRI Issue Brief, which contains facts sheets that address retirement confidence, the changing expectations about retirement, saving for retirement, age comparisons among workers, gender comparisons among workers, and attitudes about Social Security and Medicare.
If you are interested in tracking how Americans feel and behave with regards to planning for retirement; and observing trends related to retirement planning, I encourage you to visit the website and read through the various surveys and other material available on the site.
Note: I would like to thank the folks at EBRI for their permission to use their material in my book. I believe it really sets the stage for the rest of the book and provided great clarity on how many people approach the difficult task of retirement planning.