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New Estimates of the Future Path of 401(k) Assets

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  • James Poterba
  • Steven Venti
  • David A. Wise

Abstract

Over the past two and a half decades there has been a fundamental change in saving for retirement in the United States, with a rapid shift from employer-managed defined benefit pensions to defined contribution saving plans that are largely controlled by employees. To understand how this change will affect the well-being of future retirees, we project the future growth of assets in self-directed personal retirement plans. We project the 401(k) assets at age 65 for cohorts attaining age 65 between 2000 and 2040. We also project the total value of assets in 401(k) accounts in each year through 2040 and we project the value of 401(k) assets as a percent of GDP over this period. We conclude that cohorts that attain age 65 in future decades will have accumulated much greater retirement saving (in real dollars) than the retirement saving of current retirees.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13083.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Publication status: published as James M. Poterba, Steven F. Venti, David A. Wise. "New Estimates of the Future Path of 401(k) Assets," in James M. Poterba, editor, "Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 22" University of Chicago Press (2008)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13083

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  1. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1999. "Pre-Retirement Cashouts and Foregone Retirement Saving: Implications for 401(k) Asset Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 7314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Cunningham, Christopher R. & Engelhardt, Gary V., 2002. "Federal Tax Policy, Employer Matching, and 401(k) Saving: Evidence from HRS W-2 Records," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(3), pages 617-45, September.
  4. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2009. "The Decline of Defined Benefit Retirement Plans and Asset Flows," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 333-379 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James Poterba & Joshua Rauh & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2006. "Lifecycle Asset Allocation Strategies and the Distribution of 401(k) Retirement Wealth," NBER Working Papers 11974, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 2004. "The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro- and Microevidence," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 17-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2007. "Rise of 401(k) Plans, Lifetime Earnings, and Wealth at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 13091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2009. "The Decline of Defined Benefit Retirement Plans and Asset Flows," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 333-379 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2010. "The Rise of 401(k) Plans, Lifetime Earnings, and Wealth at Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, pages 271-304 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jonathan Skinner, 2009. "Comment on "The Decline of Defined Benefit Retirement Plans and Asset Flows"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 379-384 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert Gazzale & Julian Jamison & Alexander Karlan & Dean Karlan, 2013. "Ambiguous Solicitation: Ambiguous Prescription," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 1002-1011, 01.
  5. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2009. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions over the Life Cycle and Implications for Regulation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 51-117.
  6. James Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2007. "Rise of 401(k) Plans, Lifetime Earnings, and Wealth at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 13091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David A. Wise, 2007. "The Changing Landscape of Pensions in the United States," NBER Working Papers 13381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Sylvester J. Schieber, 2010. "Aging Populations, Pension Operations, Potential Economic Disappointment and Its Allocation," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 293-325 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Steven F. Venti, 2010. "Comment on "Aging Populations, Pension Operations, Potential Economic Disappointment and Its Allocation"," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 326-331 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2010. "Demographic Trends, Housing Equity, and the Financial Security of Future Retirees," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 227-287 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Robert S. Gazzale & Lina Walker, 2009. "Behavioral Biases in Annuity Choice: An Experiment," Department of Economics Working Papers 2009-01, Department of Economics, Williams College.

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