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Retirement Planning Information

Retirement Savings Education Campaign - Saving Matters

The Retirement Savings Education Campaign has information for employees, small businesses, and employers about saving for retirement and the tools to get started.

For Employees

The Campaign has a number of publications for employees on the importance of starting to save for a secure retirement through workplace retirement plans. The brochure, Top Ten Ways to Prepare For Retirement,  provides easy steps to start saving and other helpful tips. Employees looking for a more detailed discussion of retirement savings can look at Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future. This publication, developed with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, provides an easy-to-follow method for including retirement savings in your overall financial plan, helping you in estimating what you will need in retirement, dealing with debt, and understanding saving and investing, diversification, and the types of employer-based retirement plans.

Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning is designed to assist individuals who are within 10 years of retirement calculate their income, savings and likely expenses in retirement – to get a better idea of whether they are on track or how much they might need to save. The publication includes worksheets that allow the user to evaluate current assets and expenses, project future assets and expenses, and estimate additional savings for retirement. There is also information on saving, investment options, expense considerations, and how to make your assets last throughout retirement. An extensive resource section provides other sources of information on retirement, savings and investment issues. This publication was developed with the Actuaries Foundation, the North American Securities Administrators Association and AARP.

The brochure Women and Retirement Savings,  provides helpful tips for women and a checklist of questions and answers on saving for retirement. For women facing divorce and for practitioners who advise them, the publication QDROs: The Division of Pensions Through Qualified Domestic Relations Orders provides answers to commonly asked questions.

Investing And Diversification

Many employees now have the ability to choose or direct their investments in their workplace retirement plans. A number of the Department’s publications provide information on various types of investments typically offered in 401(k) and other employer retirement plans and the importance of diversification.

Specifically, Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future has information on pages 13 – 17 that describes different investments and explains how diversifying investments can reduce investment risk. This publication is available in English and Spanish. Pages 9-11 of Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning provides additional information on these issues. A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees includes descriptions of different types of investments offered through 401(k) plans on pages 7 – 11.

Employer Retirement Plans

The campaign’s educational materials include information about employees’ rights under their job-based retirement plan and an explanation of how those plans work in the following publications:

The campaign is expanding its outreach nationwide to provide assistance in person. The Department continues to expand the retirement savings information available on its Web site and the many partners the campaign works with to reach a wider audience of employees and employers.

Here are some helpful tools employees can use to calculate how much money an individual will need at retirement:

  • Kiplinger - This calculator will help you come up with a ballpark estimate of how much you need to save for retirement. It assumes that you are saving in tax-deferred accounts, that inflation will average 3% annually and that, prior to retirement, conservative investors will earn 7% annually, while aggressive investors will make 10%. During retirement, conservative investors are assumed to earn 5% and aggressive investors, 7%. To simplify the calculations, the calculator assumes you'll be eligible for social security and pension income when you retire and thus reduces the total assets you'll need. (If you plan to retire early, you’ll have to supplement social security income with savings or another job.) The calculator also assumes that you'll need your retirement nest egg to last 25 years.

  • CNN Money - This retirement planner helps you estimate how well your savings program is preparing you for retirement. First it helps you figure out how much you'll need. Then it tells you your chances of getting there.

  • American Savings Education Council - The Ballpark Estimate is an easy-to-use, one-page worksheet that helps you quickly identify approximately how much you need to save to fund a comfortable retirement. The Ballpark Estimate takes complicated issues like projected Social Security benefits and earnings assumptions on savings, and turns them into language and mathematics that are easy to understand.

  • National Association of Securities Dealers - These financial calculators are meant to provide you with some of the information necessary to make sound financial decisions and to plan for the future.

For Small Businesses

The Department of Labor has worked to educate small business owners about the various simple retirement plan options available and the advantages of starting a savings vehicle for themselves and their employees. Through partnerships with the Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and more, the Department has developed and distributed educational materials about SEP/IRAs, SIMPLE plans, 401(k) plans, and other savings vehicles.

The campaign has a number of materials to assist small business owners understand the various retirement savings vehicles available and to encourage them to start such a plan for themselves and their employees including Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business, developed with the Small Business Administration, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Internal Revenue Service. The Department also has publications to provide important information on plans and considerations in selecting a service provider to assist in setting up the plan including 401(k) Plans for Small Businesses, SIMPLE IRA Plans for Small Businesses, SEP Retirement Plans for Small Businesses, and Understanding Retirement Plan Fees And Expenses.