We get blanket advice about preparing for retirement, but is that hurting more than helping?
Americans are often told not to touch their retirement savings until the future, but the government isn’t entirely sure how well they’re listening because there’s no solid data to show it.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office said this week it had trouble finding certain key statistics around retirement plans, such as why individuals take early withdrawals from their 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts. The agency recommended the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service revise the tax form plan sponsors and financial firms use to report such information, which would help paint a picture for the state of retirement savings. “It just means it’s harder to target reforms or measure the effects of potential changes than if we had better statistics,” said David John, a senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute. “We have some information but we know that information is less than perfect.”