Assessing Americans' Financial and Retirement Security closely examines current financial behaviors and habits among various population groups, recognizing that households have unique and ever-evolving characteristics and priorities. Financial factors that are critically important for a household at a particular point in time may be significantly more or less important as they progress through life. As needs change, households must constantly monitor and adapt their plans to ensure retirement security.
To account for varying life stages and circumstances, the survey population of approximately 4,500 households was segmented into 13 groups that differ by age, number of dependents, home ownership, and whether the head of household is retired. A standard was defined to measure the degree of financial and retirement security of each cohort based on fixed-weight and variable-weight indicators.
Assessing Americans' Financial and Retirement Security is unique in its comprehensive nature and specific focus on life stages and household financial behaviors and habits. In addition to considering retirement savings balances, the analysis takes into account annual contributions to retirement, emergency and other savings, effective management of home equity, credit cards, student loans, and consumer debt, financial and estate planning, participation in defined benefit plans, ownership of annuities to guarantee lifetime income, life and disability income insurance coverage, and preparation for longterm care.
The extensive nature of this analysis creates a holistic and highly reliable measure of financial and retirement security.