Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in any number of “projects,” and to manage more than a few.
Some were explicitly tagged as such at the start, while others simply expanded to fit that name. Most of those projects turned out well; others faded into the woodwork after a time; some drew to a close after “redefining success;” and a couple actually “crashed and burned.” A lot of variables determine whether a project will be a success or failure, but in my experience, projects that lack either a limited budget and/or a specific timeframe are doomed from the outset.
I was therefore interested in some of the findings from the 8th annual America Saves Week survey this week. The survey, sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the American Savings Education Council (ASEC), found that more than half (57%) of those with a savings plan with specific goals said they were making good or excellent progress meeting their savings needs — nearly three times the number without a plan.
Moreover, nine-in-ten of those with a plan were spending less than their income and saving the difference (compared with only half of those without a plan), and more than twice as many (65%) of those with a plan said they were saving enough for retirement as among those without that specific savings plan (31%).
While those gaps were found between those who had a specific, individual, savings plan with specific
goals, it’s long been established that having access to a retirement plan at work makes a big difference in terms of whether people save for retirement or not — and the impact transcends income, gender and age. In fact, data prepared by the nonpartisan EBRI shows that more than 70% of workers earning from $30,000 to $50,000 participated in employer-sponsored retirement plans when a plan was available, whereas less than 5% of those middle income earners without access to an employer-sponsored plan contributed to an IRA. In other words, middle class workers are 15 times more like to save for their families’ retirement at work than on their own.
During this America Saves Week, it’s important to reinforce the importance of saving. However, it may be even more important to remember the positive impact of having a specific plan.
Not to mention the positive impact of having access to a retirement plan at work.
- Nevin E. Adams, JD
See also: “4 Things You Need to Know if You are Not Saving for Retirement.”
For an idea as to the impact that eligibility for participation in a workplace retirement plan can make, see “Retirement Savings Shortfalls: Evidence from EBRI’s Retirement Security Projection Model.”