US - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the long-term adequacy of defined contribution (DC) pension schemes has been criticised for taking a narrow view of the sector, using incomplete, outdated information and ignoring the findings of other studies which cast doubt on its findings.
The GAO said low income earners had a far higher likelihood of not saving for retirement and many of those currently entering the workforce faced the prospect of having zero savings.
But PSCA said the report was compiled using data from 2004. Crucially, this was before reforms to the 401(k) saving plans were implemented, altering how employers handle DC assets when employees leave an organisation.
More importantly, the GAO report used information which took no account of the 2006 Pension Protection Act, which included the creation of Cavers Credits and the increased use of automatic enrolment for workers, which has already had a positive impact on saving.
Meanwhile, Mercer has issued a study which found that the US economic slowdown has caused considerable unease among savers.
For the first time since 2004, Americans are more concerned about keeping up with their monthly expenses - including mortgage repayments and living costs - than contributing to retirement saving plans.
The report said savings priorities have been re-ordered to reflect the economic uncertainty, "with retirement taking the biggest hit". Although 70% of respondents said providing for retirement was the overall number one savings objective, this had been supplanted by more immediate financial concerns.
According to the Congressional Research service, a worker contributing 8% of pay into a 401(k) plan for 30 years would generate savings adequate to provide an income equivalent to half that of pre-retirement.
Nonetheless, the Mercer study found 40% of respondents thought they would have to reduce their standard of living in retirement, with 60% considering working at least part time.
This week's edition of Professional Pensions is out now
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