COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Studies and Research focused on 401k Plans
This archive contains not only the most current material on the topic, but also older items that are still relevant, provide background, perspective or are germane to the topic.
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Abstract: After two years of strong stock market returns, people are significantly more likely to say they are in excellent financial health and ahead of schedule in saving for retirement than they were in 2016. Despite this optimism, however, they also report significantly more stress, especially financially related stress, driven primarily by growing debt. Savings-related benefits like 401ks and health savings accounts help employees feel better about their financial well-being, but the data indicate many either do not fully understand the benefit or have overestimated their success using it.
Source: Lockton.com, October 2018
Abstract: This 44-page report draws on data about the behaviors of more than four million retirement plan eligible employees. This analysis, in conjunction with key findings from the behavioral finance field, provides useful guidance for how plan sponsors can be effective in helping their employees achieve a more successful retirement.
Source: Wellsfargomedia.com, October 2018
Abstract: According to Charles Schwab's 10-page SDBA Indicators ReportTM Millennials allocated a larger percentage of their portfolios to ETFs and cash than did other generations during the second quarter of 2018, while mutual funds remained the largest holding in the accounts of all generations.
Source: Schwab.com, September 2018
Abstract: This 21-page white paper examines trends and the latest studies regarding how retirees spend their savings, and offers suggestions and analysis on potential strategies.
Source: Pentegra.com, September 2018
Abstract: Organizations that sponsor 403b plans are accelerating adoption of plan automatic features to improve plan design and participant outcomes, according to the 2018 403b Plan Survey from the Plan Sponsor Council of America. The report also confirms more organizations are working with advisors. This year marks the 10th year of the survey and significant trends have emerged over that period.
Source: Psca.org, September 2018
Abstract: Younger 401k plan participants have large allocations to target-date and other types of balanced funds, according to a new joint study released today by the Investment Company Institute and the Employee Benefit Research Institute. At year-end 2016, 64 percent of 401k participants in their twenties held target-date funds, compared with 45 percent of 401k participants in their sixties.
Source: Ebri.org, September 2018
Abstract: EBRI and ICI released "401k Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2016." Since 1996, the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute have worked together on collecting and analyzing annual data on millions of 401k plan participants' accounts. This report reflects the year-end 2016 update of these data and EBRI's and ICI's ongoing research into 401k plan participants' activity.
Source: Ebri.org, September 2018
Abstract: This survey of retirement plan participants was conducted to better understand participant financial wellness and factors that contribute to -- or impede -- the ability to become financially well. A total of 12,211 retirement plan participants answered questions about financial wellness, ancillary wellness factors -- such as working with financial professionals -- and education preferences. Report is 12-pages.
Source: Oneamerica.com, August 2018
Abstract: This online survey of 1,000 401k participants was conducted by Logica Research for Schwab Retirement Plan Services. Survey finds that while American workers are proactive about reaching retirement goals, they could benefit from professional financial help.
Source: Schwab.com, August 2018
Abstract: A new study from nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies revealed only 16 percent of employers are "very confident" that their employees will be able to achieve a financially secure retirement. The study also illustrates ways that employers are out of sync with workers regarding perceptions and business practices related to older workers and it examines the current state of 401ks and other benefit offerings by company size.
Source: Transamericacenter.org, August 2018
Abstract: This empirical study was conducted to understand people's perspectives toward retirement and to describe how views differ between people of various characteristics. Using the results of this analysis, financial planners can better address clients' emotional needs, rather than solely focusing on rational financial planning.
Source: Onefpa.org, August 2018
Abstract: While automatic enrollment in employer retirement plans has been shown to vastly increase plan participation, many employees tend to withdraw some or all of their account balances before retirement – offsetting automatic enrollment’s positive effect. This study gauges how automatic enrollment influenced savings plan loans and withdrawals at a Fortune 500 financial services firm and how pre-retirement withdrawals affected employees’ retirement plan balances over time.
Source: Tiaainstitute.org, July 2018
Abstract: Small businesses account for 99.7% of all employer firms and more than half of all private-sector employees, according to the Small Business Administration. So how are small businesses preparing their employees enrolled in defined contribution plans for retirement? And how effectively are small-business employees using this benefit? Vanguard addresses questions surrounding small-business retirement behavior in this research.
Source: Vanguard.com, July 2018
Abstract: The 2018 RIA Benchmarking Study by Charles Schwab is the leading study of its kind in the RIA industry. The Study features insights based on self-reported information on topics such as asset and revenue growth, sources of new clients, products and pricing, staffing, compensation, marketing, technology, and financial performance.
Source: Aboutschwab.com, July 2018
Abstract: Many retirees are enjoying a secure retirement, but many pre-retirees envision that the "dream retirement" is becoming more elusive. This study explores how well individuals are preparing for retirement and how they are responding to the challenges they face.
Source: Pgim.com, July 2018
Abstract: T. Rowe Price has released their 10th annual Reference Point benchmarking report (55-pages) of employer-sponsored retirement plans, which is based on the firm's full-service recordkeeping client data for 2017.
Source: Troweprice.com, July 2018
Abstract: This 40-page paper presents the results of an experiment that is designed to examine how information presentation and complexity impact retirement-savings behavior. The hypothesis is that providing concise information with helpful recommendations would improve choices over providing lengthy and detailed information. However, the data suggest that simplifying the presentation of 401k plan information to employees is unlikely to result in vastly improved retirement-planning choices.
Source: Iza.org, July 2018
Abstract: This 43-page policy proposal is made up of three parts: The Multiple Employer Plan IRA, an expansion of the Saver’s Credit, and retirement planning resources and courses for college students. Millennials face a myriad of challenges in saving for retirement. The paper discusses the pressure that Social Security faces in coming years, important factors contributing to the current state of millennial retirement, how the gig economy prevents accessibility to tax-advantaged retirement plans, and past efforts to reform the way Americans save for retirement.
Source: Wiserwomen.org, June 2018
Abstract: Maintaining a 401k plan involves a variety of services, and the costs of these services are generally shared by the plan sponsor and the plan participants. This 32-page report, published in June, 2018, looks at the economics of providing 401k plans including services, fees, and expenses.
Source: Ici.org, June 2018
Abstract: The data are in, and they tell a powerful story about the state of retirement in America. The 17th edition of How America Saves delves into the retirement savings behavior of 4.6 million participants in defined contribution (DC) retirement plans for which Vanguard provides recordkeeping services. Our data-rich report examines trends in how participants accumulate, manage, and access retirement savings.
Source: Vanguard.com, June 2018
Abstract: The new research contains in-depth analysis, country comparisons, case studies, and detailed recommendations. It is based on findings from an online survey of 16,000 workers and retirees in 15 countries spanning the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Taken as a whole, the conclusions represent a compelling call to action. It is now time for a new social contract; one in which we don't only take stock of the change taking place around us today, but we also embrace the economic and social realities of tomorrow.
Source: Aegon.com, May 2018
Abstract: Asian Americans are more concerned about making missteps with their retirement savings in the years just before and just after retirement, yet are more confident and focused about their investments than other retirees and pre-retirees, this new research from MassMutual finds.
Source: Massmutual.com, May 2018
Abstract: ESG factors have emerged as a way for investors, such as retirement plans, to capture information on potential risks and opportunities that may otherwise not be considered. For example, climate change is expected to have widespread impacts according to a key federal study and may pose significant financial risks for long term investors, such as retirement plans that must manage risk to provide benefits for many years to come. Given the emerging use of ESG factors, GAO was asked to examine how such factors are used by retirement plans in the United States and other countries.
Source: Gao.gov, May 2018
Abstract: For many survey respondents, the gig economy is replacing how they plan to earn income in retirement: 16 percent plan on having gig economy jobs to supplement their retirement; 12 percent of side-hustlers will keep a side-gig job as their main source of income after retiring from their traditional career; and, one in five full-time giggers say they'll continue to pick up incremental work in the gig economy as their main source of income following "retirement."
Source: Betterment.com, May 2018
Abstract: This report updates results from ICI's survey of a cross section of recordkeeping firms representing a broad range of DC plans and covering more than 30 million employer-based DC retirement plan participant accounts as of December 2017. The broad scope of the recordkeeper survey provides valuable insights about recent withdrawal, contribution, asset allocation, and loan decisions of participants in these plans.
Source: Ici.org, May 2018
Abstract: This year's Retirement Confidence Survey finds only a third of retirees very confident in their ability to live comfortably throughout retirement. While this is comparable to last year, retiree confidence in having enough money to cover basic expenses and medical expenses has dropped: 80 percent say they are very/somewhat confident about covering basic expenses this year compared to 85 percent in 2017; and 70 percent say they are very/somewhat confident about covering medical expenses this year vs. 77 percent in 2017.
Source: Ebri.org, April 2018
Abstract: PIMCO asked the nation's top retirement consultants: How can defined contribution plan participants and sponsors achieve financial security over the long haul? Download the 24-page report here.
Source: Pimco.com, April 2018
Abstract: Increasing the share of workers who participate in retirement plans has been a primary focus of retirement policy. As the retirement industry and policymakers try to increase participation, it is important to understand which workers currently participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans and why certain employers offer, and certain employees desire, compensation in the form of retirement benefits. This 32-page report uses newly available 2014 data to analyze participation in employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Source: Ici.org, April 2018
Abstract: Baby boomers -- even the youngest of whom are just a decade or so away from retirement age -- are in large measure unprepared for retirement, having failed both to plan adequately and save enough, according to this 26-page study released by the Insured Retirement Institute.
Source: Myirionline.org, April 2018
Abstract: To better understand the portability and coverage challenges of the 401k system and to assess possible strategies to improve it, this report presents a three-part analysis. The objective of the report is to assess and present a wide range of available options by examining and summarizing existing proposals and, where relevant, examples from other countries.
Source: Bc.edu, April 2018
Abstract: With only ten years until the eldest of the cohort turn 65, the majority GenXers believe their savings will cover their basic expenses and allow for leisure and travel in retirement. However, this confidence is misguided as forty percent of GenXers have no retirement savings, an increase of 5 percent from the previous study.
Source: Myirionline.org, March 2018
Abstract: This 13-page survey on stale address records in employer-sponsored plans was conducted in collaboration with Retirement Clearinghouse. The report is the first of its kind to survey terminated participants themselves about the status of their accounts left behind in former-employer plans.
Source: Rch1.com, March 2018
Abstract: The last two decades have witnessed a sweeping shift in retirement offerings from large employers. This study takes a historical look at the primary retirement plans offered by current Fortune 500 companies between 1998 and 2017, thus showing how their retirement programs have evolved over the last 20 years.
Source: Towerswatson.com, February 2018
Abstract: This TIAA Institute study identified the behaviors that influence employees' decisions regarding their retirement plans.. In opt-in plans, efforts to get employees to increase their savings above the default rate are likely to be fruitful if they focus on improving financial literacy and understanding of exponential growth. While in automatic enrollment environments, efforts targeted at procrastination tendencies are likely to be particularly effective.
Source: Tiaainstitute.org, February 2018
Abstract: Are those without access to an employer-sponsored plan -- those who do not participate in available plans -- preparing for retirement in other ways? Are they prioritizing retirement savings outside of the workplace? This analysis of data from a nationally representative internet survey of private sector workers shows a correlation between access to and participation in workplace-based retirement savings programs and more planning and saving.
Source: Pewtrusts.org, February 2018
Abstract: This 36-page paper addresses the differences between defined contribution plans in the US and the UK and the lessons that can be learned from these programs. The paper is a high-level overview of the legal, regulatory and policy framework governing DC plans in both jurisdictions. It provides an analysis of the shift away from defined benefit (DB) plans in the US and the UK, to the widespread use of DC plans by both countries as the primary way of providing workplace pensions.
Source: Eversheds-Sutherland.com, February 2018
Abstract: This survey was conducted by Allianz Global Investors and the Centre for European Economic Research among pension experts in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom on the future of socially responsible investment in pension fund portfolios. The majority of experts surveyed believe the SRI approach will be extended to include asset classes other than equities.
Source: Ssrn.com, February 2018
Abstract: This report provides a look at exactly how millennial job seekers prioritize the variety of employee benefits that may be offered, as well as what the best practices are for this critical stage of the job hunt. The 14-page report aims to provide a resource for employers who want to better understand what this generation wants -- the millennial mindset -- when looking for a job.
Source: Pentegra.com, February 2018
Abstract: The survey polled respondents about their views on defined contribution (DC) retirement account saving and their confidence in 401k and other DC plan accounts. Survey responses indicated that households value the discipline and investment opportunity that 401k plans represent and that households were largely opposed to changing the tax preferences or investment control in those accounts. Report is 32 pages.
Source: Ici.org, February 2018
Abstract: Callan conducted our 11th annual Defined Contribution Trends Survey in the fall of 2017. The survey incorporates responses from 152 plan sponsors, including both Callan clients and other organizations. This 57-page report highlights key themes and findings from 2017 and expectations for 2018.
Source: Callan.com, January 2018
Abstract: This 13-page PSCA 403b Snapshot Survey reflects responses from 250 not-for-profit organizations that currently sponsor a 403b plan. The survey was conducted online in October/November 2017 and asks sponsors questions regarding how plans fees are structured, administered, and evaluated.
Source: Psca.org, December 2017
Abstract: The Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey explores attitudes about retirement and retirement readiness among American workers. The latest findings highlight differences and similarities among Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. The study had more than 6,000 respondents. It was conducted by Harris Poll.
Source: Transamericacenter.org, December 2017
Abstract: This 30-page study explores plan sponsors' familiarity with the SEC's MMF reform and the extent to which they have taken steps to evaluate the use of money market funds in their DC plans. The study also looks at other trends, such as the use of stable value in target-date funds.
Source: Metlife.com, December 2017
Abstract: This is a 12-page report on the results of a survey of plan sponsors' use-of and attitudes-toward automatic plan features including automatic enrollment, automatic escalation and re-enrollment in default investment funds known as Qualified Default Investment Alternatives. The survey represents the views of 194 DC plan sponsors. Sixty-two percent of respondents are larger plan sponsors, defined as plans with assets over $200 million, and the remaining 38% are smaller plan sponsors, defined as plans with $200 million in assets or less.
Source: Dciia.com, December 2017
Abstract: This 24-page paper provides an annual update of a longitudinal analysis of 401k plan participants drawn from the EBRI/ICI 401k database. A few key insights emerge including the growth in account balances for consistent participants greatly exceeded the growth rate for all participants in the database.
Source: Ici.org, October 2017
Abstract: Financial literacy programs that separately address U.S.-born and foreign-born Hispanics are likely to experience better results for both groups. As growth in the U.S. Hispanic population is increasingly driven by births, the gap in Hispanic financial literacy relative to the general population will likely decrease. The increasing educational attainment of Hispanics will further decrease the financial literacy gap.
Source: Tiaainstitute.org, October 2017
Abstract: Deloitte's 15th Annual Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey found that with current regulatory uncertainty and increasing litigation from plan participants, defined contribution plan sponsors are focusing on their fiduciary responsibilities by shifting investments to lower cost options, utilizing direct fees and simplifying investment approaches. These actions aim to help participants tackle their future retirement income needs.
Source: Deloitte.com, September 2017
Abstract: The ACLI study analyzes data from 4,500 U.S. households to provide a comprehensive picture of Americans' current state of financial and retirement security. It finds that 65 percent of U.S. households are on track or nearly on track to be financially secure. Among households considered to be the most financially secure, 25 percent earn $50,000 or less. Among households that need significant financial improvement, 25 percent earn $72,000 or more.
Source: Acli.com, September 2017
Abstract: EBRI and ICI released "401k Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2015." Since 1996, the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute have worked together on collecting and analyzing annual data on millions of 401k plan participants' accounts. This report reflects the year-end 2015 update of these data and EBRI's and ICI's ongoing research into 401k plan participants' activity.
Source: Ebri.org, August 2017
Abstract: Sixty-nine percent of employers believe that most of their employees could work to age 65 and still not save enough to meet their retirement needs, a disturbing finding given the vital societal role that employers play in helping workers save, plan, and prepare for retirement, according to a study released by nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.
Source: Transamericacenter.org, August 2017
Abstract: Increasing the share of workers who participate in retirement plans has been a primary focus of retirement policy. As the retirement industry and policymakers try to increase participation, it is important to understand which workers currently participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans and why certain employers offer, and certain employees desire, compensation in the form of retirement benefits.
Source: Ici.org, July 2017
Abstract: This 16-page paper highlights where the 401k system is working well and where it could be improved, and identifies initiatives, behaviors, policies, and approaches that may either boost or diminish retirement readiness among American workers.
Source: Dciia.memberclicks.net, July 2017
Abstract: This 28-page report confirms that the evolution of DC plans continues. Plan sponsors and their organizations are transitioning from a traditional view of their DC plans -- for example, to attract and retain employees -- to a sharper focus on achieving the ultimate retirement outcome: helping as many employees as possible reach a financially secure retirement. This focus is evident in plan sponsors' stated philosophies, objectives and, most important, actions.
Source: Jpmorgan.com, July 2017
Abstract: DCIIA recently assembled a member task force to aggregate information about financial wellness programs and their effect in helping to improve retirement outcomes for American workers. The findings of the task force were released in this white paper.
Source: Dciia.org, July 2017
Abstract: In this 36-page report, Vanguard analyzes small business 401k plans and participant behavior based on 2016 recordkeeping data.
Source: Vanguard.com, June 2017
Abstract: The survey profiles 55 leading providers of DC recordkeeping services. These firms account for more than $6 trillion in assets and are estimated to represent approximately 85% of the total DC market. Collectively, results from the survey demonstrate the market's evolution and point up some factors to consider when selecting a recordkeeping partner.
Source: Plansponsor.com, June 2017
Abstract: Can governments increase private savings by taxing savings up front instead of in retirement? Using administrative data from eleven companies that added a Roth contribution option to their existing 401k plan between 2006 and 2010, this 43-page Harvard study finds no evidence that total 401k contribution rates differ between employees hired before versus after Roth introduction.
Source: Hbs.edu, June 2017
Abstract: The cost of investing in equity, hybrid, and bond mutual funds through 401k plans fell again in 2016, according to a research study that the Investment Company Institute just released. The 32-page study also shows that participants who invest in mutual funds in their 401k plans tend to hold lower-cost funds.
Source: Ici.org, June 2017
Abstract: Implementation of automated features in defined contribution plans has skyrocketed over the past decade, driving up plan participation rates, saving rates, and balanced asset allocation strategies, according to the 110-page 'How America Saves 2017' report.
Source: Vanguard.com, June 2017
Commitment to Employees' Retirement Security Goes Beyond Working Years for Many Larger 401k Plan Sponsors
Abstract: In a new study, T. Rowe Price found broad-based commitment to workers' retirement security based on the attitudes and actions of retirement plan sponsors. In addition to taking responsibility for retirement preparedness, plan sponsors are taking steps to offer several automatic programs, matching contributions, stretch matches, and more to drive successful retirement outcomes.
Source: Slideshare.net, June 2017
Abstract: Defined contribution plan assets are a significant component of Americans' retirement assets, representing more than one-quarter of the total retirement market and about one-tenth of US households' aggregate financial assets at year-end 2016. To measure participant-directed changes in DC plans, ICI has been tracking participant activity through recordkeeper surveys since 2008. This 12-page report updates results.
Source: Ici.org, June 2017
Abstract: The survey offers new insights into people who are on the verge of retirement. Many are making plans for where they will live and travel, and what they will do with their time. At the same time, they are looking at how they will pay for their life in retirement.
Source: Tiaa.org, May 2017
Abstract: The Plan Sponsor Council of America's newly created HSA committee has released the results of their first snapshot survey designed to measure plan sponsors use of HSAs and their perceptions of HSAs as a retirement savings vehicle.
Source: Psca.org, April 2017
Abstract: The US Department of the Treasury recently launched an initiative to provide firms and employers "more options for putting the pension back" into private sector defined contribution plans. This 38-page paper develops a realistic life cycle model to quantify the potential impact of this new policy for a range of retiree types, differentiated by sex, educational level, and preferences.
Source: Pensionresearchcouncil.wharton.upenn.edu, April 2017
Abstract: This 11-page paper evaluates the most heavily represented Defined Contribution capital preservation plan options and provides a framework for constructing and communicating the most appropriate line-up for participants. The paper seeks to provide educational information on capital preservation options. Importantly, developing a process for the evaluation of the appropriate capital preservation option within a DC plan is critical.
Source: Rocaton.com, March 2017
Abstract: Retirement planning generally focuses on the use of financial assets. However, home equity is the largest store of savings for most households entering retirement. This 9-page paper reviews studies by the Social Security Administration's Retirement Research Consortium and others that assess whether home equity is an underutilized retirement asset and, if so, why.
Source: Bc.edu, March 2017
Abstract: The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey finds that the share of American workers who are very confident in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement remains low, and some workers report that preparing for retirement is emotionally or mentally stressful. However, among retirees, confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement continues to be comparably high.
Source: Ebri.org, March 2017
Abstract: This 32-page report examines approximately 500,000 active 401k plans. This data comes from the 2015 plan year, and represents the most recent data available at the time of writing. These plans cover about 53 million eligible workers and account for about $4.1 trillion in plan assets. The goal of this research is to provide an objective, data-oriented view of different industries, how their collective 401k plans are performing, and how that compares to other industry groupings.
Source: Judydiamond.com, March 2017
Abstract: Micro-sized DC plans are those with less than $5 million in assets. Taken as a whole, the micro-plan market in many ways is large. This report summarizes provider service ratings in the micro-plan market.
Source: Planadviser.com, March 2017
Abstract: Cost advantages and growing regulatory compliance requirements are making Collective Investment Trusts an important investment vehicle in the DC market. The characteristics that differentiated CITs from mutual funds are becoming competitive advantages, and their place in the retirement market is expanding to include even small players. This 28-page white paper can help you understand the increased opportunities CITs present to asset managers seeking a larger share of retirement assets.
Source: ALPS, March 2017
Abstract: This 8-page analysis addresses how the transition from DB to DC plans affected retirement wealth and income. The results show: Total retirement wealth from employer plans was roughly flat, and this wealth is now more skewed toward those with more education; the income produced by each dollar of retirement wealth has declined, despite a tendency for workers to retire later; and, the amount of income relative to a worker's earnings has declined.
Source: Bc.edu, March 2017
Abstract: America faces a deep political divide, but not when it comes to economic security in retirement. This 40-page report finds that 76 percent of Americans are concerned about their ability to achieve a secure retirement, with that level of worry at 78 percent for Democrats and 76 percent for Republicans. Some 88 percent of Americans agree that the nation faces a retirement crisis, and the concern is high across party lines.
Source: Nirsonline.org, February 2017
Abstract: The survey polled respondents about their views on DC retirement saving and their confidence in 401k and other DC plans. Survey responses indicated that households value the discipline and investment opportunity that 401k plans represent and that households were largely opposed to changing the tax preferences or investment control in those accounts.
Source: Ici.org, February 2017
Abstract: This 8-page paper assesses the effect of voluntarily changing jobs by workers in their 50s on how long they stay in the labor force. The brief also investigates whether any effect differs by socioeconomic status as measured by educational attainment.
Source: Bc.edu, February 2017
State Retirement Savings Initiatives Do More than Enhance Retirement Security for Private Sector Workers
Abstract: As states look at programs to build retirement savings, they are also asking how a population better prepared for retirement would affect public safety-net programs. Medicaid is the program in which there is greatest interest in estimating potential savings associated with greater retirement savings because it continues to be a major and growing piece of state budgets.
Source: Segalco.com, January 2017
Abstract: With $7.5 trillion in assets at the end of the second quarter of 2016, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) represented 31 percent of US total retirement market assets, compared with 19 percent two decades ago. Thus, IRAs play an increasingly important role in saving for retirement. This 40-page report breaks down the details.
Source: Ici.org, January 2017
Abstract: What do retirement plan advisers view as their biggest challenges? Their greatest opportunities? What are the primary benefits they receive from custodians and broker/dealers? The 2016 PLANADVISER Practice Benchmarking Survey of 613 retirement plan advisers shares insights into these and other key questions, and gives you a guidepost to see how you compare with your peers.
Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016
Abstract: The comprehensive study analyzes the most recent detailed data available from the Department of Labor on a wide range of private-sector 401k plans. The 76-page report studied plan sponsors' combinations of automatic enrollment, employer contributions, and participant loans in those 401k plans. In addition, the study examined trends in plan investment options and fees, providing additional insights into the 401k system.
Source: Ici.org, December 2016
Abstract: The latest research findings from TCRS' 2016 survey of American workers. The Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey explores attitudes about retirement and retirement readiness among American workers. This study is one of the largest and longest-running of its kind and is conducted by Harris Poll.
Source: Transamericacenter.org, December 2016
Abstract: This year's PLANSPONSOR/Janus Capital Group survey of plan sponsors' approaches, attitudes and intentions shows a shift in focus from fiduciary risks and duties to the importance of fees. Is this a good thing? Maybe. Or maybe not.
Source: Rackcdn.com, December 2016
Abstract: The movement away from employer-managed DB plans toward employee-directed DC plans has raised concerns among some in the public policy community. These concerns typically focus on whether Americans will have adequate retirement resources and whether they can manage assets prior to and in retirement. To help provide context for retirement policy discussions, this 32-page paper examines the role that private-sector pensions (both DB and DC) historically have played in providing retirement income.
Source: Ici.org, December 2016
Abstract: This article takes a look at five types of employer-sponsored defined contribution retirement plans in private industry. The article shows the overall employee participation rates, employee participation rates by type of plan, and overall employer costs and worker participation costs for all types of plans.
Source: Bls.gov, December 2016
Abstract: Key themes of this 8-page include: 1) Saving for retirement is getting progressively harder for each generation. 2) Overwhelmed with investment choices, individuals have little understanding about what they are invested in. 3) Far from reaching savings goals, pre-retirees need a plan, but have inertia. 4) Advisors play an important role in bridging the retirement preparedness gap.
Source: Prudential.com, December 2016
Abstract: ERISA allows 401k sponsors to set eligibility and vesting policies for the plans. The GAO was asked to examine 40k plans' use of these policies. Among other objectives, this report examines 1) what is known about the prevalence of these policies and why plans use them, and 2) the potential effects of these policies on workers' retirement savings.
Source: Gao.gov, November 2016
Abstract: Survey questions pertained to the size and scope of advisers' qualified plan business, practice management, compensation and client service, as well as their assessments of investment managers, mutual funds and defined contribution providers. A total of 601 retirement plan advisers complete responses.
Source: Planadviser.com, October 2016
Abstract: The 2016 edition of PwC's Employee Financial Wellness Survey tracks the financial well-being of full-time employed U.S. adults nationwide. After several years of improvements, this year marks the first time we are seeing a downward slide in many of the key indicators of employee financial wellness. Overall, this year's survey highlights just how fragile the situation is with regard to employees and their personal financial well-being.
Source: Pwc.com, October 2016
Abstract: This 12-page white paper investigates the role plan sponsors play in participant retirement readiness. It also explores the plan features and services they are considering to ensure that their participants are adequately prepared for retirement.
Source: Marketstrategies.com, October 2016
Abstract: The Social Security Administration's Office of the Chief Actuary publishes two replacement rate measures, which have great influence in framing discussions of Social Security and retirement policy. From these figures, which state that a typical worker receives a Social Security benefit equal to about 40 percent of his pre-retirement earnings, many have come to conclude that Social Security benefits are inadequate. Others, applying similar methodologies to total retirement incomes, concludes that Americans not saving sufficiently to produce adequately retirement incomes. But these two methods each violate key assumptions of the life cycle model in ways that generate meaningful differences in the results they produce.
Source: Ssrn.com, September 2016
Abstract: This 38-page paper examines the relationship between student loans and retirement saving behavior by 30-year-old workers. The analysis focuses on participation in an employer-sponsored retirement plan and retirement assets as of age 30.
Source: Bc.edu, September 2016
Abstract: The average 401k plan account balance of workers who participated consistently in one 401k plan increased significantly over the four-year period ending at year-end 2014, according to this 28-page study just published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Source: Ebri.org, September 2016
Abstract: The fifth annual Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey finds only slight improvements globally in retirement preparedness since Aegon carried out its first global survey in 2012. This report highlights possible solutions of expanding access to workplace retirement benefits, implementing helpful nudges to save, encouraging habitual saving, offering planning and investment guidance, and facilitating flexible options for transitioning into retirement.
Source: Aegon.com, September 2016
Abstract: Some say that third-party administrator (TPA) services can surpass what most recordkeepers offer to aid with plan design—and that this is broadening the TPA’s use in the retirement industry. Our first annual PLANSPONSOR Third-Party Administrator Survey provides a detailed snapshot of each TPA respondent, revealing, by its numbers, how it compares with peers in the overall market landscape.
Source: Plansponsor.com, August 2016
Abstract: This survey of 4,161 workers reveals striking similarities across all generations of workers in terms of their insecurities about retirement, as well as key differences in their expectations and preparations.
Source: Transamericacenter.org, August 2016
Abstract: This 12-page report updates results from ICI's survey of a cross section of recordkeeping firms representing a broad range of DC plans and covering more than 27 million employer-based DC retirement plan participant accounts as of March 2016. The broad scope of the recordkeeper survey provides valuable insights about recent withdrawal, contribution, asset allocation, and loan decisions of participants in these plans.
Source: Ici.org, August 2016
Abstract: The survey includes TPA firms from the very small to the very large: $600,000 in total retirement plan assets to $54 billion in plan assets, respectively; more than one in six have in excess of 500 plans. Survey participants have offices in all but seven U.S. states, and about one in six is a national firm. Article provides details from the survey data.
Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2016
Abstract: This 28-page report discusses research findings, draw implications for the continued evolution of DC plans, and explores what plan sponsors and their industry partners can do to help as many participants as possible achieve a financially secure retirement.
Source: Jpmorgan.com, July 2016
Abstract: The cost of investing in equity mutual funds through 401k plans fell again in 2015, marking a 31 percent decline since 2000, according to an annual research study that the Investment Company Institute.
Source: Ici.org, July 2016
Abstract: Boomers are making adjustments to meet the new financial challenges they are facing in retirement. The Boomer experience may provide a cautionary tale for generations to follow. More education, more advice and guidance and ultimately more saving for retirement will be necessary for people to live comfortably in their retirement years. This study report is 36-pages in length.
Source: Centerforasecureretirement.com, July 2016
Abstract: PLANSPONSOR's 18th annual Recordkeeping Survey questionnaire was distributed to known providers of full-service and unbundled recordkeeping for both qualified and nonqualified DC plans. The survey data provides insight into each provider's experience, services, and capabilities.
Source: Plansponsor.com, June 2016
Abstract: Americans continued to save for retirement through defined contribution plans in 2015, according to ICI's latest study of retirement plan savers' actions. The study is based on DC plan recordkeeper data covering more than 26 million participant accounts in employer-based DC plans.
Source: Ici.org, June 2016
Abstract: This 45-page report examines the state of retirement plan offerings, automatic enrollment, leakage from retirement savings, differences between part-time and full-time workers and other topics.
Source: Transamericacenter.org, June 2016
Abstract: Bipartisan Policy Center releases a 152-page report, "Report of the Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings," which forth numerous proposals to improve Americans' retirement security. This report presents a comprehensive package of bipartisan proposals to address six key challenges.
Source: Bipartisanpolicy.org, June 2016
Abstract: The Plan Sponsor Council of America released the results of its 2016 study assessing student loan debt and plan sponsors' response to the perceived notion that student debt affects employees' participation in company retirement plans. Report is 11-pages.
Source: Psca.org, May 2016
Abstract: This 16-page report notes that more than 40 percent of full-time private sector workers say they lack access to either a pension or an employer-based retirement savings plan such as a 401k. This retirement plan access varies more among the nation's metropolitan areas than across states as a whole.
Source: Pewtrusts.org, May 2016
Abstract: This just published 60-page report focuses on ERISA 403(b) plans in 2013. It first analyzes 403(b) plans in the DOL's 2013 Form 5500 Research File. Focus then shifts to more than 4,000 audited 403(b) plans in the BrightScope Defined Contribution Plan Database, which have at least $1 million in plan assets and typically 100 participants or more. Detailed findings are highlighted.
Source: Ici.org, May 2016
Abstract: Financial literacy and capability are keys to closing the wealth gap that exists among Hispanics, but are often lacking in the Hispanic community. The objective of this report is to inform policies, practices and services that target improvements in financial literacy and capability among Hispanic households.
Source: Tiaainstitute.org, May 2016
Abstract: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released "The Current State of Retirement: A Compendium of Findings About American Retirees." The 118-page survey report provides in-depth perspectives on retirees including attitudes about life in retirement, time commitments, living arrangements, and personal finances.
Source: Transamericacenter.org, May 2016
Abstract: Since 1996 the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute have been collecting and analyzing data from millions of 401k plan participants on plan asset allocation, account balances, and loan activity. This just released 80-page report reflects the year-end 2014 data.
Source: Ebri.org, April 2016
Abstract: In March, PLANSPONSOR surveyed 1,035 employed adults ages 23 and older regarding their access to and usage of defined contribution plans. Results can help plan sponsors ensure that their DC plan meets the expectations of the participants.
Source: Plansponsor.com, April 2016
Abstract: Winners of the 2016 Best in Class 401k Plans designation were selected from more than 4,500 plans responding to PLANSPONSOR's 2015 Defined Contribution Survey. 401k plans were evaluated and scored on more than 30 criteria related to plan design, oversight/governance, and participant outcomes. For 2016, we are recognizing 26 Best in Class 401k plans from 8 different recordkeepers.
Source: Plansponsor.com, April 2016
Abstract: The Insured Retirement Institute released this 19-page research report that found less than a quarter of Baby Boomers, 24 percent, are confident they will have enough savings to last throughout their retirement years. This is the lowest level since IRI began this research study in 2011. The study also found that this lack of confidence is understandable, given Boomers' readiness for retirement. Only 55 percent of Boomers reported having savings for retirement.
Source: Myirionline.org, April 2016
Abstract: The increase in average life expectancy for older adults in the United States contributes to challenges for retirement planning by the government, employers, and individuals. But life expectancy varies substantially across different groups with significant effects on retirement resources, especially for those with low incomes. In this 61-page report, the GAO examined (1) the implications of increasing life expectancy for retirement planning, and (2) the effect of life expectancy on the retirement resources for different groups, especially those with low incomes.
Source: Gao.gov, April 2016
Abstract: Plans with less than $5 million in defined contribution assets qualified as micro plans. PLANADVISER has published the results of its 2015 Micro Plan Survey, including detailed micro industry data, top 10 providers, and the 'best in class' providers.
Source: Planadviser.com, March 2016
Abstract: The 26th Retirement Confidence Survey (40-pages), the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation, finds that American workers' confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has maintained its increase after the record lows experienced between 2009 and 2013. However, retiree confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement continued to increase in 2016.
Source: Ebri.org, March 2016
Abstract: The trends exhibited in these figures paint a picture of increasingly inadequate savings and retirement income for successive generations of Americans -- and growing disparities by income, race, ethnicity, education, and marital status. Women, who by some measures are narrowing gaps with men, remain much more vulnerable in retirement due to lower lifetime earnings and longer life expectancies.
Source: Epi.org, March 2016
Abstract: Publically-available retirement planning tools are publicized to aid households in their retirement planning efforts, but households are likely overestimating tool effectiveness. The authors conclude that the advice provided from a majority of these tools is extremely misleading to households, and propose a more systematic approach to tool development by improved choice of input variables.
Source: Ssrn.com, February 2016
Abstract: The revision of DC plans will come down to how proactive plan sponsors are in creating a sophisticated retirement plan that can be used by participants to adequately save for retirement. This 16-page report is a detailed outline of the statistics found in part one of a three-part research series on the outlook for DC plans.
Source: Seic.com, February 2016
Abstract: In response to concerns about retirement security, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce prepared this 52-page white paper to offer guidelines on initiatives that will bolster the voluntary employment-based retirement benefits system and retirement security for workers.
Source: Uschamber.com, February 2016
Abstract: This survey polled respondents about their views on DC retirement account saving and their confidence in 401k and other DC plan accounts. Survey responses indicated that households value the discipline and investment opportunity that 401k plans represent and that households were largely opposed to changing the tax preferences or investment control in those accounts. Report is 32-pages.
Source: Ici.org, February 2016
Abstract: This 28-page survey report finds that plan sponsors prefer to work with plan advisors who emphasize employee education, good customer service and reducing plan costs as core to their value proposition. Among those already working with an advisor, fiduciary support trumps cost on this list.
Source: Massmutual.com, January 2016
Abstract: This 28-page report illustrates that today's workers are expecting to "transition" into retirement, but face a significant obstacle. Few employers have employment practices to support them. Policymakers, employers, and workers each play a critical role in redefining retirement, retirement benefits, and employment practices to keep step with increases in longevity and the implications of population aging.
Source: Transamericacenter.org, January 2016
Abstract: Guardian announced new findings from the third annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study that outlines how one in three employers now outsource all of their benefits administration, up 20 percent since 2013. Given their reliance on workplace benefits for overall financial preparedness, it's not surprising employees believe that employers have a responsibility to offer core insurance and retirement benefits to workers.
Source: Guardiananytime.com, January 2016
Abstract: Policymakers have emphasized the need to expand access to what are known as employer-sponsored defined contribution plans, such as 401ks. The ability of employees to contribute directly from their paychecks and the use of features such as automatic enrollment makes the workplace an effective place to encourage saving. Today, only about half of workers participate in a workplace retirement plan, according to this 44-page analysis of data compiled by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Source: Pewtrusts.org, January 2016
Abstract: Callan fielded the 2016 Defined Contribution Trends Survey in the fall of 2015. Survey results include responses from 144 plan sponsors, primarily large and mega 401k plans. Highlights key themes and findings from 2015 and expectations for 2016.
Source: Callan.com (registration may be required), January 2016
Abstract: In view of the growth and popularity of DC plans, along with the government's growing attention to retirement plan costs and investment choices provided, it is important to evaluate how people select their plan investments. This paper tracks how employees in a large firm altered their fund allocations when the employer streamlined its pension fund menu, tiering options in an easier-to-understand format.
Source: Tiaa-crefinstitute.org, January 2016
Abstract: This new 74-page study of 401k plans analyzes the prevalence of automatic enrollment, employer contributions, and participant loans in the plans, as well as trends in plan investment options and fees. Study is based on 2013 data.
Source: Ici.org, December 2015
Abstract: Study on America's mobile workforce, providing insights into participant behaviors regarding retirement savings portability. The study offers plan sponsors with strategies to stem cashouts and to improve retirement outcomes.
Source: 401ktv.com, December 2015
Abstract: This is a 25-page report on the results of a survey of over 400 DC plan sponsors and industry professionals at asset management, recordkeeping and consulting firms. These real-time insights can help inform plan sponsors and others of the potential direction in which the industry may be headed regarding a variety of topics and shed light on changing viewpoints and emerging best practices.
Source: Rocaton.com, December 2015
Abstract: Stable value funds have played an important role in DC plans for many years. This is the third Stable Value Study that MetLife has commissioned to gain strategic insight into the current marketplace for this capital preservation investment option within DC plans. This is a 27-page document.
Source: Metlife.com, December 2015
Abstract: This 13-page research report explores the disconnect between the value employees place on their employer-provided benefits and other aspects of their lives, and to understand employees' perceptions of their benefits.
Source: Massmutual.com, December 2015
Abstract: On behalf of Wells Fargo, Harris Poll conducted 1,251 telephone interviews of 851 working Americans 40 or older and 400 retired Americans, surveying attitudes and behaviors around planning, saving and investing for retirement. This eight-page document reviews the key findings.
Source: Wellsfargomedia.com, November 2015
Abstract: This annnual DC Survey measures and evaluates the satisfaction levels of 401k and other DC providers according to feedback from their plan sponsor clients. Major defined contribution providers are rated in 23 areas of participant/sponsor services. The information collected is intended for plan sponsors to gauge their plans against their peers.
Source: Plansponsor.com, November 2015
Abstract: Arguably, retirement plan advisers have a better perspective than their plan sponsor clients about the relative strength of products and services offered by investment and recordkeeping providers. The 2015 Retirement Plan Adviser Survey endeavors to gain insight from the adviser community about how providers and funds are selected, and which are the favorites each year.
Source: Planadviser.com, October 2015
Abstract: Based on the findings in this 23-page report, there is a wide range in the cost of fees associated with investment accounts, yet even the lowest average cost represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost savings. If the capital currently lost to fees remained invested, retirement savings could increase by an equally significant amount.
Source: Personalcapital.com, October 2015
Abstract: With a vested interest in helping workers accumulate sufficient retirement savings, employers have been busy bolstering their DC plan provisions and investment offerings. This report finds that DC plans are changing in rapid ways as employers undertake rigorous reviews to promote more participation, encourage greater savings, and improve investment funds.
Source: Aon.com, October 2015
Abstract: This research explores the disconnect between the value employees place on their employer-provided benefits and other aspects of their lives, to understand employees' perceptions of their benefits, and to determine the level of interest in employee benefits and personal finance guidance tools.
Source: Massmutual.com, October 2015
Abstract: This seven page Center for Retirement Research study found that additions and deletions from the 401k plan investment lineup favor the fund company's own family of funds which adversely affected the retirement income security of participants.
Source: Bc.edu, October 2015
Abstract: Fifty-four page survey highlights plan sponsors key themes and expectations for 2015. Results incorporate responses from 144 plan sponsors, primarily large and mega 401k plans.
Source: Callan.com,, September 2015
Abstract: Calvert Investments released the results of a comprehensive study of employer-sponsored defined contribution plan participants (and eligible non-participants) on the subject of responsible investing. The survey explored participants' familiarity with responsible investing and receptivity to the concept.
Source: Calvert.com, September 2015
Abstract: The 2015 global retirement survey shows that savers are feeling better about the future, but many still lack adequate savings. There’s still important work to be done. In the United States, retirement confidence has more than doubled since 2013. In part, the increase in retirement confidence may be a natural corollary to a general increase in overall consumer confidence.
Source: Ssga.com, September 2015
Abstract: Report examined the gender gap as it relates to the current shortfall in retirement savings. Using an example of a median 45-year-old man and woman, the report looks at median incomes, deferral rates, retirement savings, life expectancies, and projected healthcare costs to determine how much each would need to save in order to replace 70 percent of their income in retirement. The report found a 26 percent gap in the savings shortfall and further, a purchasing power gap of 95 percent between men and women in terms of extra dollars needed to fund retirement expenses.
Source: Financialfinesse.com, September 2015
Abstract: This 68 page benchmarking survey found that plan sponsors and providers have invested nearly across the board in expanding offerings to engage employees, from automatic enrollment and step-up contributions, to individual financial counseling and mobile transaction processing.
Source: Iscebs.org, September 2015
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