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An Update on 401(k) Plans: Insights From the 2007 SCF

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  • Alicia H. Munnell
  • Francesca Golub-Sass
  • Dan Muldoon

Abstract

The maturation of the 401(k) system and the enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which made 401(k) plans easier and more automatic, were expected to enhance the role that 401(k)s played in the provision of retirement income. So, originally, the release of the Federal Reserve’s 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) seemed like a great opportunity to re-assess 401(k)s. The SCF is a triennial survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. households, which collects detailed information on households’ assets, liabilities, and demographic characteristics. Of course, the 2007 SCF reflects a world that no longer exists. Interviews were conducted during the late summer and early fall when the Dow Jones was at 14,000 (the peak was October 9, 2007) and housing prices were only slightly off their peak. While the economic crisis had already begun, its effects were not yet visible. Since the time of the interviews, the stock market has imploded, reducing the value of equities in 401(k) and IRAs by about $2 trillion. Housing prices have fallen by 20 percent. And the crisis has spread to the real economy, throwing 3.6 million people out of work...

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File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/briefs/an-update-on-401k-plans-insights-from-the-2007-scf/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Issues in Brief with number ib2009-9-5.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision: Mar 2009
Handle: RePEc:crr:issbrf:ib2009-9-5

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  1. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2004. "For Better or for Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 81-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2004. "Plan Design and 401(k) Savings Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 10486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hurd, Michael & Panis, Constantijn, 2006. "The choice to cash out pension rights at job change or retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2213-2227, December.
  5. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
  6. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Brian J. Surette, 2000. "Recent changes in U. S. family finances: results from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-29.
  7. Alicia H. Munnell & Dan Muldoon, 2008. "Are Retirement Savings Too Exposed to Market Risk?," Issues in Brief ib2008-8-16, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2008.
  8. Richard Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
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Cited by:
  1. Esteban Calvo & Kelly Haverstick & Natalia A. Zhivan, 2009. "Determinants and Consequences of Moving Decisions for Older Homeowners," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-16, Center for Retirement Research, revised Aug 2009.
  2. Karamcheva, Nadia & Sanzenbacher, Geoffrey, 2013. "Bridging the Gap in Pension Participation: How Much Can Universal Tax-Deferred Pension Coverage Hope to Achieve?," IZA Discussion Papers 7518, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Norma B. Coe & Anthony Webb, 2009. "Actual and Anticipated Inheritance Receipts," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-32, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2009.
  4. Nadia Karamcheva & Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, 2010. "Is Pension Inequality Growing?," Issues in Brief ib2009-10-1, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jan 2010.
  5. Robert L. Clark & Jennifer A. Maki & Melinda Sandler Morrill, 2013. "Can Simple Informational Nudges Increase Employee Participation in a 401(k) Plan?," NBER Working Papers 19591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kelly Haverstick & Natalia A. Zhivan, 2009. "Older Americans On The Go: How Often, Where, and Why?," Issues in Brief ib2009-9-18, Center for Retirement Research, revised Sep 2009.

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