September 7, 2012
By Nevin Adams
A couple of weeks back, I was on one of Virginia’s Civil War battlefields, looking to join one of the local park ranger tours. This particular one was scheduled to start deep within the park itself, and while I left home certain that I knew where I was heading, when I got there, I quickly discovered otherwise.
Fortunately, or so I thought at the time, there were about a half dozen other individuals also looking to find the same tour. We quickly convened around a shared map, looked for landmarks, and—based on the collective sense of the group—headed off in what seemed to be the right direction.
Five minutes later I began to suspect we were not heading in the right direction, and 15minutes later I was sure of it. Then I remembered that I had recently downloaded a smartphone “app” for this particular battlefield—one that not only contained a map, but also a GPS feature that allowed me to not only find where I was but to visualize where I needed to be. With that, we could begin heading in the right direction.
Smartphones are an increasingly important part of our lives, in no small part because of the “apps” (short for applications) that they bring to us. These days, apps make it possible to order a pizza, identify that song playing on the radio (and order and/or download your own copy), scan price codes and comparison shop without leaving the store.
While many of today’s “apps” offer much in the way of entertainment and informational value, a great many of them also make it easy to spend , rather than save, money. In fact, the 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc., found that the use of technology, such as smart phones and tablet computers to help manage finances was still relatively rare.¹
But now there’s a new app designed to make it easier to know where you are in your retirement savings: the EBRI Ballpark E$timate,® developed by Matrix Group International, Inc., and the research team at EBRI, and provided by Choose to Save.®
As a web-based tool, and as a hardcopy reference, the EBRI Ballpark E$timate® (as well as other tools and information available at www.choosetosave.org²) has long helped millions of Americans do a better job of planning for their financial future.
Now the EBRI Ballpark E$timate® “app” (like that smartphone GPS) can help Americans do a better job of knowing where they are—so they can make sure they are headed in the right direction, too.
The EBRI Ballpark E$timate® is currently available as a free download from the iPhone store. More information is online here.
¹ “The 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey: Job Insecurity, Debt Weigh on Retirement Confidence, Savings,” is online here.
² In addition to the Ballpark E$timate,® you will find a wide variety of free tools and innovative resources, including free videos that can be used to share key savings messages with participants available at www.choosetosave.org