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Pre-Retirement Lump-Sum Pension Distributions and Retirement Income Security: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study

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  • Engelhardt, Gary V.

Abstract

This paper uses the Health and Retirement Study to examine the extent of retirement wealth erosion from pre-retirement lump-sum pension distributions. There is little evidence that spent distributions have resulted in significant pension leakage. If spent distributions had been rolled over into a tax-qualified plan, they would have represented 5-11 percent of pension and Social Security wealth for the median household that spent a distribution. However, one-quarter of the households that spent distributions--which is 2.25 percent of all households age 51 to 61--could have increased retirement wealth by 25 percent or more had the distributions been rolled over.

Suggested Citation

  • Engelhardt, Gary V., 2002. "Pre-Retirement Lump-Sum Pension Distributions and Retirement Income Security: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(4), pages 665-685, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:55:y:2002:i:4:p:665-85
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1991. "Aging and the income value of housing wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 371-397, April.
    2. Burman, Leonard E. & Coe, Norma B. & Gale, William G., 1999. "Lump Sum Distributions From Pension Plans: Recent Evidence and Issues for Policy and Research," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(3), pages 553-562, September.
    3. Burman, Leonard E. & Coe, Norma B. & Gale, William G., 1999. "Lump Sum Distributions from Pension Plans: Recent Evidence and Issues for Policy and Research," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 553-62, September.
    4. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Chapters,in: Aging Issues in the United States and Japan, pages 25-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Andrew A. Samwick & Jonathan Skinner, 1996. "Abandoning the Nest Egg? 401(k) Plans and Inadequate Pension Saving," NBER Working Papers 5568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. James Poterba & Joshua Rauh & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2007. "Defined Contribution Plans, Defined Benefit Plans, and the Accumulation of Retirement Wealth," NBER Chapters,in: Public Policy and Retirement, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 2062-2086 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2004. "Saving or Retirement on the Path of Least Resistance," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000606, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Gary V. Engelhardt & Anil Kumar, 2007. "Employer Matching and 401(k) Saving: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Chapters,in: Public Policy and Retirement, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 1920-1943 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Clark, Robert L. & Morrill, Melinda Sandler & Vanderweide, David, 2014. "Defined benefit pension plan distribution decisions by public sector employees," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 73-88.
    5. 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.
    6. Engelhardt, Gary V., 2003. "Reasons for job change and the disposition of pre-retirement lump-sum pension distributions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 333-339, December.
    7. Reyers, Michelle & van Schalkwyk, Cornelis Hendrik & Gouws, Daniƫl Gerhardus, 2015. "Rational and behavioural predictors of pre-retirement cash-outs," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 23-33.

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