Resources
Delphi Survey
EBRI contracted ith MGA to conduct a Delphi survey to evaluate ideas generated by delegates to the National Summit on Retirement Savings held on June 4-5, 1998. Specifically, these ideas focused on ways to increase Americans' retirement savings and enhance the retirement income security of today's workers. In order to develop the questionnaire, EBRI provided MGA with a categorized list of the ideas generated at the Summit. MGA then incorporated these ideas into a questionnaire asking respondents to rate each idea according to the respondent's perception of its priority for further action. For the second round of the study, respondents were presented with the same list of ideas, ranked within each category according to the results of the first round, and asked to rate each idea again according to its priority. The third round of the study again presented respondents with the same list of ideas, ranked according to the results of the previous round (but no longer within categories), and asked them to rate each idea a final time

Forty-one percent of Summit delegates responded to the first round of the survey. The second round had a delegate response rate of 22 percent. Forty percent of Summit delegates responded to the final round of the survey.

The Top 20

Table 1 presents the top 20 ranked-ideas by the percentages of Summit delegates rating each a high priority. While the rankings vary somewhat by each survey round, these rankings also show some surprising consistency. "Educating about the benefits of starting to save early" is the top ranked idea by delegates in the final two waves of the survey. This signals that delegates believe that an education campaign with this idea as one if its central messages should be the top priority for anyone seeking to implement ideas from the National Summit.

Seven of the ideas ranked among the top ten and thirteen of the ideas ranked among the top 20 also concern education. "Educate people on the costs of retirement" is the second ranked idea, while "develop financial planning curriculum for high schools and colleges" is ranked fourth. A delegate priority is also to "develop an on-going, funded, public awareness program to create a culture of saving and thrift" (ranked 8th). There also appears to be a sentiment that such a campaign should involve "different messages targeted at different groups, such as people at risk, young people, low-income people, savers vs. nonsavers, ethnic groups, and high/low education levels" (ranked 10th). According to delegate responses, a priority should also be to "encourage the use of payroll deductions" (ranked 3rd) and to "increase availability of payroll deductions and direct deposits for IRAs and/or other (retirement) savings vehicles" (ranked 9th).

Three of the ideas ranked in the top 20 directly concern the high priority that should be placed on the education of children and youth. "Developing a financial-planning curriculum for high schools and colleges" is ranked fourth, while "institute education projects that start at a young age" is tied for thirteenth place and "encourage financial literacy in the schools through public/private partnerships" is ranked eighteenth. In addition, educating employers, specifically on how to set up low cost plans, is also a priority for Summit delegates.

Top 20 Ideas Among Delegates
Table 1
Ranked by percentage rating each a high priority
  1st
Round
2nd
Round
3rd
Round
1 Educate about the benefits of starting to save early. 2 1 1
2 Educate people on the costs of retirement. 1 5 2
3 Encourage the use of payroll deductions. 3 3 3
4 Develop financial-planning curriculum for high schools and colleges. 16 2 4
5 Provide simple, user-friendly, easy-to-understand information on retirement savings. 10 6 5
6 Encourage portable models. 8 10 5
7 Educate employers on how to set up low-cost plans (as part of a national public awareness campaign). 4 4 7
8 Develop an on-going, funded, public awareness program to create a culture of savings and thrift. 5 6 8
9 Increase availability of payroll deductions and direct deposits for IRAs and/or other savings vehicles to encourage savings (that would not be accessible till retirement). 10 8 9
10 Develop an education campaign that includes different messages targeted at different groups: people at risk, young people, low-income people, savers vs. non-savers, ethnic groups, and high/low education levels. 13 9 10
11 Educate employers on how to set up low-cost plans (as part of opportunities for plan expansion). 25 19 11
12 Position "lifetime savings" campaign as opposed to "retirement"-which does not register for young people. 43 27 11
13 Encourage long-term investing. 16 15 13
14 Institute education projects that start at a young age. 8 16 13
15 Simplify the message. 14 33 15
16 Use automatic enrollment/negative consent to raise 401(k) participation. 27 12 16
17 Raise profile of retirement savings plans when they are offered. 6 13 17
18 Encourage financial literacy in the schools through public/private partnerships (e.g., "adopt a school" programs). 32 16 18
19 Provide more education for workers on an ongoing basis. 28 21 19
20 Translate retirement benefit statements into estimated monthly income statements at retirement, to make these statements more meaningful to workers. 16 11 19

 

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