While the Labor Department gets ready to launch a pension education campaign this summer, it should stress that saving even a little is better than saving nothing at all, according to Dallas Salisbury, president of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington.
The Department of Labor should not stress adequate savings targets as much as it should stress the general advantages to saving money, Mr. Salisbury said.
Speaking before the Labor Department's ERISA Advisory Council, Mr. Salisbury said that people with lower incomes tend to give up trying to save when they are presented with saving targets they feel are out of their financial reach.
"The more that can be done to bring the issue of savings ....definitively over time ends up having a positive effect," Mr. Salisbury said. "The prime objective here is that any (savings) is better than nothing."
Saving even a little bit at a time and watching that grow with compounded interest is the experience people need to realize that saving is worthwhile, Mr. Salisbury said.
This summer, the Department of Labor plans to launch an extensive campaign on retirement savings. The Labor Department hopes to change people's attitudes and increase levels of retirement savings, according to Jay Rosenblum, special assistant at the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.
But instead of trying to define adequate savings or to pin whether defined contribution plans are sufficient means to base retirement, the department should show how saving today can add up to flexibility in the future, Mr. Salisbury said.
"We have the basic problem of people not thinking about retirement," Mr. Salisbury said.