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Employee Benefits Security Administration

Retirement Savings Education Campaign

The Retirement Savings Education Campaign has information for employees, small businesses, and employers about saving for retirement and the tools to get started.

For Employees

The Campaign has a number of publications for employees on the importance of starting to save for a secure retirement through workplace retirement plans. The brochure, Top Ten Ways to Prepare For Retirement, also available in Spanish, provides easy steps to start saving and other helpful tips. Employees looking for a more detailed discussion of retirement savings can look at Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future. This publication, developed with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, provides an easy-to-follow method for including retirement savings in your overall financial plan, helping you in estimating what you will need in retirement, dealing with debt, and understanding saving and investing, diversification, and the types of employer-based retirement plans. It is also available in Spanish.

Our newest publication Time is on Your Side provides savings tips for new entrants to the workforce.  While new entrants may have many demands on their income, this publication describes in five short steps how to get started with saving and investing early, to enjoy the benefits later on.

Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning is designed to assist individuals who are within 10 years of retirement calculate their income, savings and likely expenses in retirement – to get a better idea of whether they are on track or how much they might need to save. The publication includes worksheets that allow the user to evaluate current assets and expenses, project future assets and expenses, and estimate additional savings for retirement. There is also information on saving, investment options, expense considerations, and how to make your assets last throughout retirement. An extensive resource section provides other sources of information on retirement, savings and investment issues. This publication was developed with the Actuaries Foundation, the North American Securities Administrators Association and AARP.

The brochure Women and Retirement Savings, also available in Spanish, provides helpful tips for women and a checklist of questions and answers on saving for retirement. For women facing divorce and for practitioners who advise them, the publication QDROs: The Division of Pensions Through Qualified Domestic Relations Orders provides answers to commonly asked questions.

Investing And Diversification

Many employees now have the ability to choose or direct their investments in their workplace retirement plans. A number of the Department’s publications provide information on various types of investments typically offered in 401(k) and other employer retirement plans and the importance of diversification.

Specifically, Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future has information on pages 13 – 17 that describes different investments and explains how diversifying investments can reduce investment risk. This publication is available in English and Spanish. Pages 9-11 of Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning provides additional information on these issues. A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees includes descriptions of different types of investments offered through 401(k) plans on pages 7 – 11.

Other Sources Of Information On Investing And Diversification

Employer Retirement Plans

The campaign’s educational materials include information about employees’ rights under their job-based retirement plan and an explanation of how those plans work in the following publications:

  • A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees [View]

  • Employer Bankruptcy: How Will it Affect Your Employee Benefits? [View]

  • FAQs for Reservists Being Called to Active Duty [View]

  • Pension and Health Care Coverage - Q&As for Dislocated Workers [View]

  • What You Should Know About Your Retirement Plan [View]

  • QDROS: The Division of Pensions Through Qualified Domestic Relations Orders [View]

These and other publications are available free of charge by calling toll free, 1.866.444.EBSA (3272).

The campaign is expanding its outreach nationwide to provide assistance in person. The Department continues to expand the retirement savings information available on its Web site and the many partners the campaign works with to reach a wider audience of employees and employers.

Here are some helpful tools employees can use to calculate how much money an individual will need at retirement:

  • CNN Money - This retirement planner helps you estimate how well your savings program is preparing you for retirement. First it helps you figure out how much you'll need. Then it tells you your chances of getting there.

  • American Savings Education Council - The Ballpark Estimate is an easy-to-use, one-page worksheet that helps you quickly identify approximately how much you need to save to fund a comfortable retirement. The Ballpark Estimate 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.

  • National Association of Securities Dealers - These financial calculators are meant to provide you with some of the information necessary to make sound financial decisions and to plan for the future.

Build Wealth At Work

Public Service Announcements

En Español

For Small Businesses

The Department of Labor has worked to educate small business owners about the various simple retirement plan options available and the advantages of starting a savings vehicle for themselves and their employees. Through partnerships with the Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and more, the Department has developed and distributed educational materials about SEP/IRAs, SIMPLE plans, 401(k) plans, and other savings vehicles.

The campaign has a number of materials to assist small business owners understand the various retirement savings vehicles available and to encourage them to start such a plan for themselves and their employees including Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business, developed with the Small Business Administration, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Internal Revenue Service. The Department also has publications to provide important information on plans and considerations in selecting a service provider to assist in setting up the plan including 401(k) Plans for Small Businesses, SIMPLE IRA Plans for Small Businesses, SEP Retirement Plans for Small BusinessesPayroll Deduction IRAs for Small Businesses, Profit Sharing Plans for Small Businesses and Understanding Retirement Plan Fees And Expenses.

The Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business video helps small employers and accountants understand the various options for providing a retirement program through four real-life experiences.

Note: These videos contain captioning, but you must enable this capability in your media player in order to see the captions.

The Department also has an interactive Web site to allow businesses to review various savings vehicle options and the key features of each. Based on the responses to key questions, such as the number of workers employed by the company and whether or not the company will contribute to the workers’ retirement savings, the savings vehicle options are provided to the business owners. The  elaws Small Business Retirement Savings Advisor , one of the Department’s e-laws programs, provides a thorough description of each type of plan.

Fiduciary Education

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao launched a nationwide campaign to improve workers' health and retirement security by educating employers and service providers about their fiduciary responsibilities under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  This is the latest in a series of compliance assistance initiatives by the Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).

Plan sponsors and other fiduciaries have a solemn responsibility to protect the interests of the workers and retirees in their benefit plans.  The Department's program - "Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities" - will provide employers and plan officials with an understanding of the law and their responsibilities and will focus on steps for avoiding the most common problems EBSA encounters in its enforcement activities.

The program will emphasize the obligation of plan sponsors and other fiduciaries to:

  • Understand the terms of their plans;

  • Select and monitor service providers carefully;

  • Make timely contributions to fund benefits;

  • Avoid prohibited transactions; and

  • Make timely disclosures to workers and their beneficiaries and reports to the government.

The Fiduciary Education Campaign has information on related publications and seminars.


The Department of Labor launched its Retirement Savings Education Campaign (RSEC) in July 1995 to help women, minorities and small businesses take steps to save for a secure retirement.

In 1997, the Savings Are Vital to Everyone’s Retirement Act, known as the SAVER Act, was enacted, directing the Department of Labor to continue its retirement savings education and outreach program. In addition, the SAVER Act directed the Department to convene three National Summits on Retirement Savings to be co-hosted by the White House and Congress. The first summit, focusing on the challenges to saving for retirement, was held on June 4-5, 1998. The second summit, focusing on advancing generational prosperity, was held on February 27 – March 1, 2002. The third summit, focusing on trends, challenges and opportunities in saving for your golden years, was held on March 1-2, 2006. For more information on the Summits, including the materials from the Summits, visit the National Summit on Retirement Savings Web site.

To mark the fifth anniversary of the Retirement Savings Education Campaign, the Department unveiled a new campaign logo and slogan, Saving Matters, designed to more effectively reach its audiences and help change their attitudes and behavior towards saving.

The Department also presented the Oseola McCarty Super Saver Award to recognize low-income wage earners who have successfully prepared for the cost of retirement through saving and investing. DOL presented the award to inspire others by shining a spotlight on these individuals.

The Department has utilized many tools to encourage employees and small businesses to save including publications, public service announcements, outreach, and the agency’s Web site.

For More Information About RSEC

For more information about the Retirement Savings Education Campaign, please contact:

U.S. Department of Labor
Employee Benefits Security Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Suite N-5623
Washington, D.C. 20210
Tel 202.693.8664