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COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Studies and Research focused on 401k Plans

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2021 RIA Benchmarking Study

The RIA Benchmarking Study by Schwab Advisor Services is a leading study of 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. Now in its fifteenth year, more than 1,300 independent advisor firms representing over $1.5 trillion in AUM participated in this year's study.

Source: Schwab.com, July 2021

2021 Recordkeeping Survey

The annual PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey is compiled from self-reported data submitted by recordkeepers of defined contribution plans. This year's results represent nearly $9 trillion in DC assets and are estimated to account for over 90% of the total DC market, according to internal analysis based on the "2021 Investment Company [Institute] Fact Book."

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2021

New Research Finds Millennials and Gen X Increasingly Concerned About Retirement in Wake of Pandemic

A national survey finds that Millennials and Generation X are more worried about retirement as compared to older generations. Sixty-four percent of Millennials and 54 percent of Generation X are more concerned about their retirement security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The level of concern is at 42 percent for Baby Boomers and 25 percent for the Silent Generation.

Source: Prnewswire.com, July 2021

2021 Defined Contribution Plan Participant Survey Findings

This DC Plan Participant Survey was conducted as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted financial markets, workplace trends, and spending patterns. Against this backdrop, participants remained broadly resilient in maintaining their retirement savings efforts, but many also continued to appear overwhelmed and unsure about the various aspects of retirement planning.

Source: Jpmorgan.com, July 2021

The Economics of Providing 401k Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2020

The study found that 401k plan participants investing in mutual funds tend to hold lower-cost funds, the expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in mutual funds have declined substantially since 2000, and the downward trend in the expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in hybrid and bond mutual funds continued in 2020.

Source: Ici.org, July 2021

Survey: 84% of Workers Say Auto-Enrolment Is Key to Saving Earlier for Retirement

The vast majority (84%) of workers that were automatically enrolled in their workplace retirement plan say they started to save for retirement sooner than if they had to take action to make the enrollment decision on their own. However, only one-third of employers currently offer automatic enrollment, and among those that do, just 21% have an automatic deferral rate of 6% of eligible pay, according to the latest quarterly Principal Retirement Security Survey.

Source: Principal.com, July 2021

Workers More Receptive to Auto-Features, Post-COVID-19

Eighty-four percent of workers who have been automatically enrolled into their workplace retirement plan say they are glad that their savings have been jump-started. They say auto-enrollment has gotten them on the retirement savings path at an earlier age than if they had decided on their own. This is according to Principal's latest "Retirement Security Survey," which is based on a poll of more than 2,000 workers and retirees, and 230 plan sponsors.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2021

Data Find That Employer Contributions Are Widespread in 401k Plans

Employer contributions are prevalent in 401k plans, according to an updated study on 401k plans from BrightScope and the Investment Company Institute. The study found that in 2018, 87 percent of large 401k plans (typically those with 100 participants or more, as defined by the DOL) covering more than nine out of 10 401k participants had employer contributions.

Source: Ici.org, July 2021

Availability of State Auto-IRAs Appears to Complement Private Market for Retirement Plans

As more states enact retirement savings programs for private-sector workers who can't save through their jobs, policymakers and analysts have speculated about the potential impact on employers: Would these state programs "crowd out" the private market for plans such that businesses would not adopt their own 401ks or comparable alternatives? Preliminary data from DOL annual filings by employer-sponsored plans suggests that in states that have created what is known as an auto-IRA, employers with plans continue to offer them, and businesses without plans are still adopting new ones at similar or higher rates than before the state options were available.

Source: Pewtrusts.org, July 2021

2021 401k Participant Study

Plan participants are more positive in 2021 about meeting their retirement goals than they were last year at the beginning of the pandemic. Almost three in ten believe their lifestyle in retirement will improve. On average, participants think they need $1.9 million saved for retirement.

Source: Schwab.com, June 2021

Pandemic Drove Bump in Rollovers

Rollovers from defined contribution plans to IRAs increased by more than 12.6% in 2020, according to a recently released study. The Secure Retirement Institute estimates that rollovers from DC plans to IRAs totaled approximately $623 billion in 2020, up from the $565 billion transferred in 2019.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2021

2021 Canadian Retirement Survey

New research from HOOPP and Abacus Data show two of three Canadians have saved nothing for retirement during COVID, retirement tops list of worries. Most Canadians have not set aside anything for retirement in the past year (63%) which is up 5% since last year. The survey also found a widespread belief that better access to workplace pensions is needed to avoid a retirement crisis.

Source: Pensionpulse.Blogspot.com, June 2021

How Does Your 401k Plan Stack up?

An annual 401k plan benchmarking report finds that the top five industries with the best 401k plans continue to outpace the competition in nearly all metrics. The results of Judy Diamond Associates' fifth annual 401k Plan Benchmark Report show that the top five industries with the best 401k plans in 2019.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2021

The Economics of Providing 401k Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2020

Key findings: 401k plan participants investing in mutual funds tend to hold lower-cost funds. The expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in mutual funds have declined substantially since 2000. The downward trend in the expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in hybrid and bond mutual funds continued in 2020. This is a 32-page report.

Source: Ici.org, June 2021

Abandoned Retirement Savings: White Paper

Retirement savings abandonment is a rising concern connected to DC systems and default enrollment. Authors use tax data on Individual Retirement Accounts to establish that in 2017, 2.7% of 72.5-year-old account-holders in total abandoned $790 million; the median abandoned account held $5,400. Nearly all of these funds remain with plans and are not sent to state unclaimed property. Regression discontinuity estimates show that abandonment is 10 times higher in automatic rollover IRAs, a type of default account. They nest their findings in a model of retirement savings featuring forgetting to derive implications for passive and active savers.

Source: Ssrn.com, June 2021

Defined Contribution Plan Recordkeeper Data Show Ongoing Commitment to Retirement Saving

Americans continued to save for retirement through DC plans early this year despite uncertain market conditions during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, according to ICI's "Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, First Quarter 2021." The study tracks contributions, withdrawals, and other activity, based on DC plan recordkeeper data covering more than 30 million participant accounts in employer-based DC plans.

Source: Ici.org, June 2021

New Research From PSCA Illuminates Common Plan Committee Practices

If there was ever a meeting that couldn't be replaced with an email, it's that of a retirement plan committee, and while those structures are as varied as the companies that sponsor them, a new survey by the Plan Sponsor Council of America uncovers some key consistencies in structure and approach. Indeed, retirement plan committees have always been an essential element in assuring prudent retirement plan operation and administration. While there is perhaps no perfect number of committees -- or committee members -- their construction, monitoring, and maintenance through rotations and training are as critical to their effective operation as it is to the design of the plan functions they oversee.

Source: Psca.org, June 2021

Study on 401k Participant Activity and Plan Design Released

T. Rowe Price released Reference Point, its annual 401k benchmarking report featuring year-over-year data and analysis on participant behavior and plan design. The report is based on the firm's full-service recordkeeping client data and this year, it features findings derived through the lens of the global pandemic. Key findings are reviewed.

Source: Prnewswire.com, June 2021

2021 401k Universe Benchmarks Report

This annual report illustrates how workers are saving and investing in defined contribution plans. This year's version features data from 100 plans covering more than three million eligible participants. It highlights the most common benchmarking statistics, including plan participation rates, savings rates, balances, investment, and trading activity and distributions from accounts (e.g., loans, withdrawals, cash-outs, and rollovers).

Source: Alight.com, May 2021

Estimating Leakage From Retirement Savings Accounts

This document summarizes recent work by the Joint Committee staff to better understand contributions to and distributions from retirement accounts, with a particular emphasis on distributions from retirement accounts to pre-retirement age individuals (i.e., leakage). The base data underlying this analysis were constructed by the Joint Committee staff using 16 years of tax returns and information returns. These data are a new and unique set of nationally representative data on flows between individuals and retirement accounts. In this document, the Joint Committee staff reports estimates of leakage among working-age individuals and analyzes the extent to which certain common life events contribute to leakage.

Source: Jct.gov, April 2021

2021 Retirement Confidence Survey

The RCS is the longest-running survey of its kind, measuring worker and retiree confidence about retirement, and is conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research. The 2021 survey of 3,017 Americans was conducted online January 5 through January 25, 2021. All respondents were ages 25 or older. The survey included 1,507 workers and 1,510 retirees, which includes an oversample of roughly 500 completed surveys among Black Americans (252 workers and 253 retirees) and roughly 500 completed surveys among Hispanic Americans (253 workers and 249 retirees).

Source: Ebri.org, April 2021

How Participants Weathered the Challenges of 2020

This John Hancock report looks at saving and investing behavior -- and progress toward retirement readiness -- over the course of an unprecedented year. Despite obstacles associated with the pandemic, participants held the line with their retirement savings.

Source: Johnhancock.com, March 2021

Retirement Ages Geared to Life Expectancy

For most of the 20th century, life expectancy was on the rise. Yet older Americans were retiring at younger and younger ages. That changed in the 1990s. Life expectancy continued to rise, but retirement ages started increasing too. Given the change, Urban Institute researchers wondered whether the dramatic longevity gains experienced by the people who make it to their 50s and 60s could be counted as another reason for the delayed retirement trend. Their evidence suggests that growing lifespans are keeping men over age 55 in the labor force longer and postponing their retirement, particularly in areas with strong job markets and more opportunity.

Source: Bc.edu, March 2021

401k Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2018

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 new 36-page report reflects the year-end 2018 update of these data and EBRI and ICI's ongoing research into 401k plan participants' activity.

Source: Ebri.org, March 2021

A Survey of Plan Participants and Plan Sponsors

This report presents the results of an online survey of 1,005 plan participants, between the ages of 25 to 70, employed full-time at a company that has at least 50 employees, and currently contributing to a 401k or 403b plan. It also includes 502 plan sponsors who are employed full-time at a company that has at least 50 employees and offers a 401k or 403b plan.

Source: Tiaa.org, February 2021

American Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving, 2020

The 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 Americans value the discipline and investment opportunity that 401k plans represent and that individuals were largely opposed to changing the tax preferences or investment control in those accounts. A majority of respondents also affirmed a preference for control of their retirement accounts and opposed proposals to require a portion of retirement accounts to be converted into a fair contract promising them income for life from either the government or an insurance company.

Source: Ici.org, February 2021

Plan Design During Challenging Times: 7 Actionable Insights From Behavioral Finance

If we make it easy to draw down savings during these extremely challenging times, how can we make it even easier to accumulate savings once the hardship is over? This 12-page whitepaper proposes changes to plan design that can boost savings once the economy recovers. It's a subject that's especially important and timely given current economic challenges.

Source: Voya.com, February 2021

Survey Tracks How DC Plans Operated in 2020

Because our world has changed so dramatically, Callan's annual Defined Contribution Survey has evolved to fit the rapidly shifting landscape facing DC plan sponsors. Their 14th annual survey covers the SECURE and CARES Acts, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the key tenets of DC plan management, financial wellness, and health savings accounts.

Source: Callan.com, February 2021

Study Finds Misplaced Concerns About COVID and Retirement

While there has been a lot of discussion about how COVID-related economic shutdowns have affected retirement security, a new paper suggests that things could have been a lot worse. The shutdowns could have worsened the picture for 401k plans if financial markets had collapsed, the recession had led to widespread withdrawals, or more employers had suspended their match. But these things did not happen, according to the report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2021

NEPC's 2020 Defined Contribution Plan and Fee Survey

NEPC's 15th annual Defined Contribution Plan and Fee Survey focuses on measuring financial success for DC plans and participants and benchmarking industry fees. As part of the 2020 survey, it explores how plan sponsors can improve their participants' financial success by using plan features to increase savings rates, professionalize investment decisions, and facilitate the distribution of assets at retirement.

Source: Nepc.com, February 2021

Millennials' Readiness for Retirement: A 2019 Update

A prior CRR study found that, in 2016, Millennials lagged behind Gen Xers and Late Boomers in retirement preparedness. New data for 2019 show that Millennials are catching up in the labor market and in getting married and buying houses. However, despite also having similar retirement savings, Millennials' huge student debt burden still leaves them well behind prior cohorts in wealth accumulation.

Source: Bc.edu, February 2021

2021 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing

In early 2020, few people could have predicted that COVID-19 would have the everlasting societal impact that it has. Fortunately, despite market pressures, many employers remained steadfastly committed to helping their workers save and plan for retirement. This 32-page report shares the latest trends and changes in employer-sponsored defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

Source: Alight.com, January 2021

Another Record Year for Retirement Savings

PSCA's 63rd Annual Survey found record contribution and participation rates for the third year in a row. More employees had account balances in and contributed to, their plans than ever before, and employers contributed an average of 5.3% of gross annual pay to participants, the highest recorded to date. Plan participants contributed an average of 7.6% of pay in 2019, combined with the 5.3% of companies are pitching in gives an average savings rate of 12.9 percent in 2019.

Source: Psca.org, December 2020

2020 Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Survey

We are approaching a new stage in the evolution of DC while standing in the middle of a heightened fiduciary risk environment. Plan sponsors are facing a crossroad and are asking themselves: How do we manage risk today while planning for tomorrow, and what is our role as DC plans evolve from supplemental savings plans to primary retirement and savings vehicles? Results of the Willis Towers Watson's 2020 U.S. Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Survey.

Source: Willistowerswatson.com, December 2020

Company Stock in DC Plans

Employers continue to evaluate company stock in light of litigation and single-stock risk as well as its impact on retirement accumulations. Plan sponsor interest surged in response to the 2014 Dudenhoeffer case. This 16-page paper begins with an overview of factors unique to company stock in DC plans. Next, it provides an overview of the characteristics of plan sponsors that actively offer company stock and the nature of company stock restrictions. It then considers two simple regression models, incorporating both participant demographics and plan design features, that examine holdings of company stock. Finally, it concludes with a discussion of our findings and with implications for plan sponsors.

Source: Vanguard.com, December 2020

COVID-19 Impact on 401k Plans

In contrast to the response during the 2008-09 financial crisis, more than 90 percent of employers will make their retirement plan contributions this year, though smaller organizations are more likely to have suspended or reduced plan contributions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to this 7-page PSCA snapshot survey of retirement plan sponsors. Though most companies are not making changes to plan contributions this year, smaller organizations have been more impacted by current conditions and are thus more likely to have suspended or reduced plan contributions.

Source: Psca.org, December 2020

Worker Participation in Employer-Sponsored Pensions: Data in Brief

This report provides data on the percentage of U.S. workers who have access to and who participate in employer-sponsored pension plans. Not all workers who have access to a pension plan at work participate in the plan. About 70% of all U.S. workers have access to employer-sponsored pensions and about 55% of U.S. workers participate in their plans. But the percentage of workers who participate in plans to which they have access differs between DB and DC plans.

Source: Crsreports.congress.gov, December 2020

Impact of COVID-19 and Economic Conditions on 403b Plans

PSCA conducted a brief survey of 403b plan sponsors in October 2020 to determine how they are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic conditions. This is the full 10-page report.

Source: Psca.org, December 2020

DC Plan Participants' Activities, First Three Quarters of 2020

This 20-page report covered DC plan participants' activities in the first nine months of 2020. In this period, stock prices declined sharply before recovering. Preliminary data indicate that the commitment to contribution activity continued at the high rate observed in the first nine months of other years. Most DC plan participants stayed the course with their asset allocations despite high stock market volatility at the end of the first quarter of 2020. DC plan participants' loan activity edged down in the third quarter of 2020, perhaps partly reflecting the use of CRDs instead of loans.

Source: Ici.org, November 2020

The Evolving DC Landscape: The Expanding Role of OCIOs

New research from PGIM sheds light on the use of outsourced chief investment officers by defined contribution plan sponsors. In a divergence of opinion, OCIOs seem to underweight their expertise in implementing institutional-quality structures, indicating that the top reasons for being hired by their clients were the perceived mitigation of fiduciary risk and the plan sponsors' lack of resources.

Source: Pgim.com, October 2020

2020 Plan Investment Trends

PSCA and NAPA surveyed plan sponsors and retirement plan advisors (separately) between January 21 and February 21, 2020, regarding current plan menu designs and investment trends. This is a 44-page report.

Source: Psca.org, October 2020

Report: What Does Consistent Participation in 401k Plans Generate?

This paper provides an update of a longitudinal analysis of 401k plan participants drawn from the EBRI/ICI 401k database. A few key insights emerge from looking at the 1.9 million consistent participants in the EBRI/ICI 401k database over the eight years from year-end 2010 to year-end 2018.

Source: Ebri.org, October 2020

Older Women Report Facing a Financially Uncertain Future

In all 14 focus groups GAO held with older women, women described some level of anxiety about financial security in retirement. Many expressed concerns about the future of Social Security and Medicare benefits, and the costs of health care and housing. Women in the groups also cited a range of experiences that hindered their retirement security, such as divorce or leaving the workforce before they planned to. Women in all 14 focus groups said their lack of personal finance education negatively affected their ability to plan for retirement.

Source: Gao.gov, September 2020

Combined 401k Plan and IRA Balances by Age and Time

Owning both a 401k plan and an individual retirement account leads to larger balances, but missed opportunities to contribute and leakage reduce those balances. One-page report.

Source: Ebri.org, September 2020

The Growing Burden of Retirement

Addressing the twin retirement challenges of more risk and rising costs, along with the decline in overall retirement savings, will require a concerted societal effort. This 24-page report offers a roadmap to the various hurdles that make retirement security difficult to achieve. Stepping back and viewing the entire picture of the different retirement challenges can help to understand just how much the burden has grown.

Source: Nirsonline.org, September 2020

DOL Could Better Inform Divorcing Parties About Dividing Savings

Many Americans don't have enough savings for a secure retirement and divorce can make it worse if one spouse can't claim some of the other spouse's retirement benefits. A legal tool called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (known as a "QDRO") can be used to establish such a claim. Getting an order can be complex and costly. Many aren't approved, largely because the submitted orders lack the basic information needed for approval. Fees can be unaffordable for people with low incomes. Information from the DOL may be insufficient to facilitate the order process or determine reasonable fees. This GAO report recommends improving the information available.

Source: Gao.gov, September 2020

Generational Views on Financial Advice, Investing, and Retirement

A new Vanguard survey finds millennials are redefining retirement. This age cohort is challenging traditional norms like retiring at the target age of 65 and are instead aspiring to retire early or pursue a new career after reaching retirement age.

Source: Vanguard.com, August 2020

Defined Contribution Plan Profile: A Close Look at 401k Plans 2017

Employers choose the features to include in their 401k plans. This 88-page study analyzes automatic enrollment, employer contributions, and participant loans outstanding in a sample of more than 60,000 large private-sector 401k plans, typically plans with 100 participants or more in 2017.

Source: Ici.org, August 2020

Participants Talk Saving, Retirement Plans and Risk; Research

Plan Sponsors and their advisors consider many factors when evaluating and defining retirement plan design. One of those should be understanding participant sentiments about saving and retirement benefits. Use findings from our 8th national survey to add insight and value in your discussions and deliberations about participant behaviors and plan features.

Source: Americancentury.com, August 2020

The Economics of Providing 401k Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2019

At year-end 2019, 401k plan assets totaled $6.4 trillion, with 37 percent invested in equity mutual funds. In 2019, the average expense ratio for equity mutual funds offered in the United States was 1.24 percent. 401k plan participants who invested in equity mutual funds, however, paid about one-third of that amount -- 0.39 percent -- on average. The expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in mutual funds have declined substantially since 2000. This is a 32-page report.

Source: Ici.org, July 2020

Initial Impacts of Coronavirus on Global Defined Contribution Plans

This 6-page report provides a snapshot of initial policy responses related to participant access to DC plans in various global markets as of May 15, 2020. For context, while the coronavirus pandemic has affected 188 countries, the timing and intensity of the pandemic has varied significantly across the world. Country practices and retirement plan systems vary globally. As such, a country's policy decision may not only reflect their stance towards DC plan assets but also whether the country has a robust safety net or other significant sources of guaranteed income.

Source: Dciia.org, July 2020

Bridging the Gap Between Accumulation and Decumulation for Participants

Defined contribution plan participants are increasingly keeping retirement balances in the plan, and a growing number of plan sponsors are interested in retaining these balances. Information gleaned from focus groups suggests that participants have misperceptions about the value of staying in plan. Some participants do not even know that staying in a plan is an option after retirement. If plan sponsors want to maintain retirees in the plan, they should not keep it a secret. They must engage with participants early and often.

Source: Troweprice.com, June 2020

How Exposed Are Retirement Savings to Market Risk?

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, the stock market declined by 35 percent between its February peak and March trough. While the market has largely recovered since then, it remains very volatile and exposes household savings to continued market risk. This 10-page paper documents where the declines occurred and the extent to which retirement accounts are exposed to equity market risk. The first section looks at overall trends in the stock market and household exposure. The second section breaks down the decline in equity values by source. And the third section focuses specifically on retirement assets.

Source: Bc.edu, June 2020

Decoding Retirement: A Detailed Look at Retirement Distributions Reported on Tax Returns

This 83-page paper addresses the question of how leakage should be defined when using tax data. The analysis indicates that penalized distributions, which represent only about half of the taxable distributions received by individuals younger than 55, are a reasonable approximation for leakage. The paper also examines retirement distributions more generally, looking across all age groups.

Source: Irs.gov, June 2020

Retirement Security for Women Amid COVID-19

A woman's path to a secure retirement is filled with obstacles. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges faced by women have further intensified with layoffs, furloughs, or extended periods working from home and balancing job responsibilities with homeschooling children and, possibly, caregiving for an aging parent or loved one. The goal of this research is two-fold: 1) to raise awareness of the retirement risks that women face, and 2) to highlight opportunities for women to take greater control of their finances and their futures.

Source: Transamericacenter.org, June 2020

Who Participates in Retirement Plans, 2017

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 tabulations of administrative tax data published by the IRS to analyze participation in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Source: Ici.org, May 2020

Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, 2019

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 2019. This 16-page report updates the 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 2019. 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 2020

Implementation of Auto Features Continues to Rise as Plans Recognize Benefits, Survey

The survey, conducted by DCIIA's Retirement Research Center, represents the views of 175 defined contribution plan sponsors and is based on year-end 2018 data. Fifty-seven percent of the respondents represent plans with assets greater than $200 million. The remaining 43% of respondents have less than $200 million in plan assets. This report offers observations relative to prior survey findings, where applicable, and provides historical perspectives on how sponsor behaviors and attitudes towards auto features have developed over time.

Source: Dciia.org, April 2020

A Close Look at ERISA 403b Plans, 2016

The study of 403b plans is complicated because plan sponsors span public and private sectors; also, some plans are subject to ERISA and some are not. ERISA 403b plan assets account for nearly half of the estimated total 403b plan assets. This 68-page report analyzes 403b plans covered by ERISA that also file Form 5500 Schedule H in 2016.

Source: Ici.org, April 2020

Achieving Retirement Equality for Women

With the dawn of a new decade, this 52-page report looks at steps women can take to improve their retirement preparedness. The report also sets forward recommendations for employers and governments globally to take an active approach in reducing the retirement preparedness gender gap, paving the way to a more equal future retirement landscape.

Source: Aegon.com, February 2020

From Traditional to Transitional: How the Nation's Retirement Model Is Changing

Nearly six in 10 employers (57 percent) believe that within the next five years their workers will retire at older ages than today. For many, the very definition of retirement is changing, as bridge jobs, gig work and encore careers replace the traditional notion of a fixed end to one's working life. Those are just a few of the findings from MetLife's new Evolving Retirement Model Study. It finds the traditional model of retirement -- which assumed a fixed career end date and employer-paid benefits -- is being replaced by a more transitional model.

Source: Metlife.com, February 2020

Rethink, Rewire, Retire; White Paper

We all know what "retirees" look like: the silver-haired couple strolling on the beach, teeing off on the links or building a birdhouse with the grandkids. But these conventional images of retirement, seen in countless financial-planning brochures, are fast joining the rocking chair in the museum of retirement cliches, along with traditional approaches to retirement planning. This 14-page survey suggests financial advisors and retirement plan sponsors can help consumers redefine retirement with new, engaging planning tools and investment products.

Source: Empower-Retirement.com, February 2020

American Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving, 2019

The 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 Americans value the discipline and investment opportunity that 401k plans represent and that individuals were largely opposed to changing the tax preferences or investment control in those accounts. A majority of respondents also affirmed a preference for control of their retirement accounts and opposed proposals to require retirement accounts to be converted into a fair contract promising them income for life from either the government or an insurance company.

Source: Ici.org, January 2020

401k Plan Participants Report More Confidence

Individuals who participate in 401k plans are more confident about their retirement than those who do not participate, according to a recent study focused on financial attitudes and behaviors conducted by T. Rowe Price. The study found that, regardless of income and assets, pre-retirees aged 50 and older who participate in a 401k plan are 16% more likely to be confident about their retirement than those who do not participate.

Source: Troweprice.com, January 2020

From Saving to Income: The Next Evolution of Defined Contribution Plans

The last two years have seen a surge in the adoption of financial wellness programs by employers eager to help employees improve their financial wellbeing. But many employers have yet to evolve one of their core employee benefit -- their retirement savings plan -- to help workers address their greatest financial wellness challenge: generating an adequate and sustainable amount of lifetime income in retirement. While retirement savings plans have undergone two significant evolutions over the last four decades, they still fall short in providing workers with lifetime retirement security. This is an important gap now that DC plans generally are a primary source of participants' retirement income.

Source: Prudential.com, January 2020

Millennial Retirement Report: Time Is on Their Side, but the Clock Is Ticking

Millennials' retirement expectations are similar to previous generations: they hope to retire with adequate income that will last. However, this report by the Insured Retirement Institute finds that these expectations are not well aligned with the retirement planning steps millennials have taken thus far.

Source: Myirionline.org, January 2020

Optimal Default Retirement Saving Policies: Theory and Evidence From OregonSaves

This paper provides an analysis of state-sponsored auto-enrollment plans, and specifically, the plan's default contribution rate. It develops a tractable framework to derive the optimal default contribution rate considering workers' decisions on adhering to the default contribution rate. It suggests the optimal default contribution rate to be 8%.

Source: Upenn.edu, January 2020

What if OregonSaves Went National: A Look at the Impact on Retirement Income Adequacy

With more than a year of experience with the OregonSaves plan, the Employee Benefit Research Institute asked the question: What if OregonSaves were a national program? How would that impact the retirement security of American workers? They further asked how a national version of OregonSaves would compare with nationwide implementation of 401k safe harbor plans among employers who do not currently offer a DB or DC plan. They examined both using EBRI's Retirement Security Projection Model.

Source: Ssrn.com, December 2019

Transamerica Retirement Survey: A Compendium of Findings About U.S. Workers

The Compendium provides in-depth perspectives on retirement. This 222-page report offers 30+ key indicators of retirement readiness, preparations and attitudes among workers by employment status (full-time, part-time), generation, gender, household income, level of education, and race/ethnicity.

Source: Transamericacenter.org, December 2019

Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, First Half 2019

Defined contribution plan assets are a significant component of Americans' retirement assets, representing 28 percent of the total retirement market and almost one-tenth of US households' aggregate financial assets at the end of the second quarter of 2019. To measure participant-directed changes in DC plans, ICI has been tracking participant activity through recordkeeper surveys since 2008. This 16-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 30 million employer-based DC retirement plan participant accounts as of June 2019.

Source: Ici.org, December 2019

2020 403b Plan Priorities

The Plan Sponsor Council of America conducted a survey of 403b plan sponsors in October 2019 to determine their priories for their retirement plan in 2020. The survey also assessed what changes are planned in 2020 to address those priorities. Nearly three hundred 403b plan sponsors responded to the survey, representing a diverse group of organizations. This is the 15-page report on the survey results.

Source: Psca.org, December 2019


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