“Show” Time

By Nevin Adams, EBRI

Adams

Adams

Though there’s precious little worth watching on television these days, I’ll confess to having developed a fondness for the Sunday night shows that have sprung up all over cable television—series like Downton Abbey, Mad Men, Hell on Wheels, and yes, The Walking Dead. These not only keep me up on Sunday nights, but looking forward to the end of the weekend.

The “hiatus” gaps between these cable seasons are long enough that it can be hard to remember where the story line left off, though these days the standard seems to be to pick up the characters’ lives at a different point in time. Downton Abbey closes one season at the start of WWI, and opens the next in the middle of that conflict, for example—or Mad Men closes a season with the key characters having decided to split off from a stifling new British parent firm, and the next season opens with their new venture already operating as a full-fledged advertising firm. These storyline “jumps” can be a bit disorienting, but time (and the storyline) marches on.

A year ago, the Retirement Confidence Survey, conducted by EBRI and Greenwald & Associates, found that Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement was weighed down by concerns about the economy and job security, “stagnant” at record low levels. Those who participated in workplace retirement savings plans were more confident, as were those who had taken the time to estimate their retirement savings needs. A growing number of current workers were planning to work past the traditional retirement age of 65—and yet, in reality, most current retirees had left the workforce earlier than planned, usually for reasons beyond their control.

Since then, we’ve had a presidential election, seen the Supreme Court uphold a new federal health care law, crept up to the edge of a fiscal cliff (and stumbled back a bit), seen unemployment rates stabilize, and stock markets gain ground. How might those events impact or influence Americans’ preparations or retirement confidence? Have they sought—and followed—professional guidance? How much DO Americans think they need to save? And how much progress have they made?

For almost a quarter-century now—with no hiatus—the RCS has meticulously tracked the evolving trends in Americans’ confidence about retirement. Next week we’ll unveil the results of the 23rd annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), the longest-running annual retirement survey of its kind in the nation. You can count on it providing some fascinating insights on where workers and retirees are, where they’ve been, and where we all need to be—with a growing sense of where we want to be tomorrow.

Note: The results of the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) will be available at 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 19, at www.ebri.org  Information and findings from prior surveys are available at www.ebri.org/surveys/rcs/2012/

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