The Inattentive Participant: Portfolio Trading Behavior in 401(k) Plans
AbstractMost workers in defined contribution retirement plans are inattentive portfolio managers: only a few engage in any trading at all, and only a tiny minority trades actively. Using a rich new dataset on 1.2 million workers in over 1,500 plans, we find that most 401(k) plan participants are characterized by profound inertia. Almost all participants (80%) initiate no trades, and an additional 11% makes only a single trade, in a two-year period. Even among traders, portfolio turnover rates are one-third the rate of professional money managers. Those who trade in their 401(k) plans are more affluent older men, with higher incomes and longer job tenure. They tend to use the internet for 401(k) account access, hold a larger number of investment options, and are more likely to hold active equity funds rather than index or lifecycle funds. Some plan features, including offering own-employer stock, also raise trading levels.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp115.
Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 615-0422
Fax: (734) 647-4575
Web page: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/papers/
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-07-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-FIN-2006-07-02 (Finance)
- NEP-FMK-2006-07-02 (Financial Markets)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
- Gervais, Simon & Odean, Terrance, 2001.
"Learning to be Overconfident,"
Review of Financial Studies,
Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
- Simon Gervais & Terrance Odean, . "Learning To Be Overconfident," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 5-97, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- Simon Gervais & Terrance Odean, . "Learning To Be Overconfident," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 05-97, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2000. "Trading Is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 773-806, 04.
- Mitchell, Olivia S. & Utkus, Stephen P. & Yang, Tongxuan (Stella), 2007.
"Turning Workers into Savers? Incentives, Liquidity, and Choice in 401(k) Plan Design,"
National Tax Journal,
National Tax Association, vol. 60(3), pages 469-89, September.
- Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Utkus & Tongxuan (Stella) Yang, 2005. "Turning Workers into Savers? Incentives, Liquidity, and Choice in 401(k) Plan Design," NBER Working Papers 11726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Douglas D. Bernheim, . "Financial Illiteracy, Education, and Retirement Saving," Pension Research Council Working Papers 96-7, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
- 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.
- Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "THE POWER OF SUGGESTION: INERTIA IN 401(k) PARTICIPATION AND SAVINGS BEHAVIOR," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187, November.
- Julie Agnew & Pierluigi Balduzzi & Annika Sundén, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Trading in a Large 401(k) Plan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 193-215, March.
- Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
- Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2002. "Online Investors: Do the Slow Die First?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 455-488, March.
- Terrance Odean, 1999. "Do Investors Trade Too Much?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1279-1298, December.
- Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Metrick, Andrew, 2002. "How does the Internet affect trading? Evidence from investor behavior in 401(k) plans," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 397-421, June.
- William E. Even & David A. Macpherson, 2004. "Determinants and Effects of Employer Matching Contributions in 401(k) Plans," Labor and Demography 0405001, EconWPA.
- Bilias, Yannis & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Haliassos, Michael, 2006.
"Portfolio inertia and stock market fluctuations,"
CFS Working Paper Series
2006/14, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
- Johnson, Woodrow T., 2010. "Do investors trade uniformly through time?," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 645-658, September.
- Spiegel, Matthew & Zhang, Hong, 2013. "Mutual fund risk and market share-adjusted fund flows," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 506-528.
- Dvorak, Tomas & Hanley, Henry, 2010. "Financial literacy and the design of retirement plans," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 645-652, December.
- James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2008. "The Flypaper Effect in Individual Investor Asset Allocation," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2560, Yale School of Management.
- Hugh H. Kim & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013.
"Time is Money: Life Cycle Rational Inertia and Delegation of Investment Management,"
NBER Working Papers
19732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kim, Hugh H. & Maurer, Raimond & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2013. "Time is money: Life cycle rational inertia and delegation of investment management," CFS Working Paper Series 2013/08, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (MRRC Administrator).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.