Saving for Retirement: The Importance of Planning

December 2000

In this issue of Research Dialogue, Professor Annamaria Lusardi of Dartmouth College summarizes her recent research on the relationship between household saving and planning for retirement. She emphasizes that planning for retirement can be a difficult and even stressful exercise that many families may be ill equipped to do on their own. The high "cost" of planning may explain why relatively few households report having made a significant effort to plan for retirement. Professor Lusardi presents summary statistics on the extent of planning and saving among American households, and describes the details of her finding that those households who have made a relatively greater effort to plan for retirement have higher levels of household saving. She concludes with a brief discussion of the public policy implications of her work.