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
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
Nevin E. Adams, JD
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