Congress Taps NEFE for Insight on Retirement Income

CEO Beck Shares Holistic Approach to Financial Planning

Date: June 17, 2010

Contact: Paul Golden 303-224-3514, [email protected]

DENVER—On June 16, 2010, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, opened an important hearing on retirement income by noting: “Most of our education efforts have been on encouraging people to save, but we've done very little to help the average retiree make the difficult choices about how to make their savings last.”

Kohl’s acknowledgement set the stage for testimony by Ted Beck, president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education, who had been called before the committee to share the distinguishing badge of NEFE’s years of work on retirement: an approach that emphasizes options, reveals how decisions in one area impact another, and makes livable retirement income both personal and achievable.

Identifying the Problem

“In 2006, we took a step back and looked very hard at the questions around retirement,” Beck told the committee and panel gathered for the hearing, “The Retirement Challenge: Making Savings Last a Lifetime.” “We were very concerned at how few people were actually calculating what their financial needs were.”

Beck noted that decision making for retirement has increasingly shifted to an unprepared population, especially for people making $30,000 to $100,000 a year, who are less likely to pay for financial planning. Yet despite not understanding the impact of their choices, adults of all ages make critical and often irrevocable decisions that can affect retirement income.

In fact, research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute projects that nearly half of early baby boomers are at risk of not having sufficient post-retirement resources to cover basic needs and uninsured health care costs. The numbers are slightly better for late boomers and Generation X, but they still are high at roughly 44 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

Addressing the Issue

Beck described a sequence of initiatives through which NEFE has developed a holistic model for preparing for and managing income in retirement.

1)    A roundtable of retirement experts in 2006

2)    A pioneering academic review of commonly proposed consumer retirement guidelines, which NEFE commissioned from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research

3)    A 2007 think tank on retirement decumulation

4)    Identification of eight interrelated retirement decision areas: Work, Social Security, Home/Mortgage, Insurance, Pensions, Retirement Plans, Debt, and Fraud

5)    The launch of, NEFE’s online resource of information and planning tools for consumers

6)    A 2009 study conducted by Dartmouth University on social and peer marketing techniques for educating people about options related to retirement

Beck closed his testimony with a look at next steps in helping Americans better prepare for retirement, including closer examination of populations that face special challenges—such as seniors with disabilities and their caregivers—and continuing to deliver information to people in a manner to which they accept and respond.

For more information on the hearing and to view the testimony, visit



  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]