Help! They need somebody: 401(k) participants setting retirement savings goals

Over to the right isHelp!, the 1965 soundtrack album for the movie of the same name. It’s also the title song which begins:

Help, I need somebody

Help, not just anybodys

Help, you know I need someone, help

It’s my pop culture segue to important findings in a recent publication by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The publication is, A Little Help: The Impact of On-line Calculators and Financial Advisors on Setting Adequate Retirement-Saving s Targets: Evidence from the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey, by Jack VanDerhei, Ph.D., and Nevin Adams, J.D.

Here’s a summary of what the EBRI found:

  • Those using an on-line calculator or asking a financial advisor appear to set more adequate savings targets, as measured by the probability of not running short of money in retirement.
  • Those in the lowest-income quartile show a 9.1% to 12.6% improvement (depending on family/gender) in the probability of not running short of money in retirement if a financial advisor has been asked, and a 14.6% – 18.2% increase if an on-line calculator is used.
  • Those who “guessed” at a retirement savings target were less likely to choose an adequate target

Important information, but there’s two takeaways for me:

First, it not just about the “Who” (no pun intended). It’s also about the “When”. Goals should be reviewed on a regular basis and changes made, if necessary..

Second, kudos to plan sponsors who make retirement goal setting and follow up as part of their 401(k) plans.

Help! Trivia from Wikipeda:

In February 1985, "Help!" became the first Beatles song licensed for a US television commercial. The Lincoln–Mercury division of Ford Motor Company paid $100,000 for the rights to the song, but not for the use of the original Beatles’ recording. The song was re-created by a sound-alike group with assistance from George Martin.