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Six Good Websites for Research

Here are six websites I recommend.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)
EBRI has been conducting nonpartisan, objective research on employee benefit plans (retirement and health care) since the late 1970s – and all of our research is available online. We’ve modeled retirement income adequacy via the EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model® (RSPM), which simulates 1,000 alternative retirement paths for each household to explicitly model investment, longevity and stochastic health care risks (i.e., nursing home and home health care costs). Our defined contribution/401(k) database currently includes information on nearly 24 million participant accounts, and our IRA database has information on some 20 million accounts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
If you’re looking for reliable information about retirement plan participation (defined benefit or defined contribution), or access to benefits generally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great, easy to use, reliable source. Their report on “employee benefits in the United States,” published each March, offers a great comparison point.

The Internal Revenue Service – Tax Information for Retirement Plans Community
This site has great information on things like choosing a retirement plan, how to avoid – and correct – plan errors, and even retirement savings tips. And it’s easy to understand.

The Department of Labor/Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA)
Great information applicable to retirement plan sponsors and advisors, including updates on regulatory guidance, information on how to meet your fiduciary obligations, tips on picking service providers, and even a fee disclosure tool that can be great door opener for discussions with your plan sponsor clients or prospects.

The Ballpark E$timate
The Ballpark E$timate is an easy-to-use, two-page worksheet that helps you (or helps you help someone else) quickly identify approximately how much you need to save to fund a comfortable retirement. It 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. There is an online version – and a new smartphone app as well.

American Savings Education Council (ASEC)
This website contains a wide variety user-friendly, multimedia materials that advisors can use to help individuals plan and save for their financial future, including free public service announcements (PSAs) using humor, powerful images, and compelling information to encourage viewers (and listeners) to take charge of their financial future.