EBRI’s Retirement Confidence Survey

The RCS is the country’s most established, comprehensive, and longest-running study of the attitudes and behavior of American workers and retirees towards all aspects of saving, retirement planning, and long-term financial security. The full list of the annual RCS reports is online here.

Results of the 2014 RCS are published in the March 2014 EBRI Issue Brief. Among the top-line results:

IB.Mar14.RCS.Fig3Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has recovered somewhat from the record lows of the past five years, according to the 24th annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), but it does not appear to be founded on improved retirement preparations—and it may be limited to those with retirement plans.The 24th waveof the RCS, the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation, finds that the percentage of workers confident about having enough money for ac omfortable retirement, at record lows between 2009 and 2013, increased in 2014. Eighteen percent are now very confident (up from13 percent in 2013), while 37 percent are somewhat confident. Twenty-four percent are not at all confident (statistically unchanged from28 percent in 2013).

However, in the aggregate, reported worker savings remain low, and only a minority appear to be taking basic steps to prepare for retirement. This increased confidence is observed almost exclusively among those with higher household income, but confidence was also found to be strongly correlated with household participation in a retirement plan(including an individual retirement account (IRA)). Nearly half of workers without a retirement plan were not at all confident about their financial security in retirement, compared with only about 1 in 10 with a plan.

“Retirement confidence is strongly related to retirement plan participation,” noted JackVanDerhei, EBRI research director, and co-author ofthe report. “In fact, workers reporting they or their spouse have money in a defined contribution plan or IRA or have a defined benefit plan from a current or previous employer are more than twice as likely as those without any of these plans to be very confident (24 percent with a plan vs. 9 percent without a plan).”

The EBRI website also has several RCS-related fact sheets, online here.  The EBRI press release is online here.


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