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

In: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 22

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Listed:
  • James M. Poterba
  • Steven F. 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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Suggested Citation

  • James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2008. "New Estimates of the Future Path of 401(k) Assets," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 22, pages 43-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:2363
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James M. Poterba & Joshua Rauh & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2009. "Lifecycle Asset Allocation Strategies and the Distribution of 401(k) Retirement Wealth," NBER Chapters,in: Developments in the Economics of Aging, pages 15-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    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. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 2001. "Preretirement Cashouts and Foregone Retirement Saving: Implications for 401(k) Asset Accumulation," NBER Chapters,in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 23-58 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(3), pages 617-645, September.
    7. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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, January.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    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. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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