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Measuring the Impact of Lifetime Income Estimates for Retirement Plans

A recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute studied the response of defined contribution retirement plan participants to estimated monthly retirement income projections.  The survey included questions about disclosures similar to those that would be required under a rule proposed by the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration.  Participants in the survey had a weighted median of $50,000 saved in an employer sponsored retirement plan and had weighted median annual contributions of $6,900 (including any employer contributions).  Highlights of the survey include:

  • 36% of participants found the monthly retirement income projections “very useful” and 49% found them “somewhat useful.”
  • 8% found the monthly projections to be “much lower” than expected, and 19% found the projections to be “somewhat lower” than anticipated.
  • 17% indicated that the information would lead them to increase their retirement plan contributions.
  • Of the respondents who indicated that they would increase their contributions, 69% planned to increase contributions by 10% and 13% planned to increase contributions by 25%.
  • Less than 1% indicated that they would retire sooner based on the information and 9% stated that they would retire later.