IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

How Accurate are Expected Retirement Savings?

  • Steven Haider

    (Michigan State University)

  • Mel StephensJr.

    (Carnegie Mellon University and NBER)

This paper examines the ability of workers nearing retirement to report their expected retirement savings, where retirement savings refers to funds held in savings, checking, and investment-type accounts. Responding to such a question is likely to be difficult, even for those who are near retirement, because it requires respondents to assess when they will retire, their likely income stream between the survey date and retirement, and what portfolio choices will be made at retirement. Based on two nationally representative surveys collected two decades apart, we find that most individuals provide some response to the question, particularly when they are allowed to provide a range. Moreover, the responses that are given have substantial predictive power for actual retirement savings, even when compared to the savings in the initial wave. Despite this predictive power, there is evidence that responses do not satisfy the more stringent requirements of the rational expectations hypothesis.

If 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.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp128.

in new window

Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp128
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: (734) 615-0422
Fax: (734) 647-4575
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. V. Kerry Smith & Donald H. Taylor & Frank A. Sloan, 2001. "Longevity Expectations and Death: Can People Predict Their Own Demise?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1126-1134, September.
  2. Kathryn H. Anderson & Richard V. Burkhauser & Joseph F. Quinn, 1986. "Do Retirement Dreams Come True? The Effect of Unanticipated Events on Retirement Plans," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(4), pages 518-526, July.
  3. Susann Rohwedder & Arthur van Soest, 2006. "The Impact of Misperceptions about Social Security on Saving and Well-being," Working Papers wp118, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," Econometrics 9411003, EconWPA.
  5. Steven J. Haider & Melvin Stephens, 2007. "Is There a Retirement-Consumption Puzzle? Evidence Using Subjective Retirement Expectations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 247-264, May.
  6. Lee Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 2001. "Cognition and Wealth: The Importance of Probabilistic Thinking," Working Papers wp007, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  7. Ann Huff Stevens & Sewin Chan, 2005. "What You Don?t Know Can?t Help You: Pension Knowledge and Retirement Decision Making," Working Papers 518, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  8. Richard Disney & Sarah Tanner, 1999. "What can we learn from retirement expectations data?," IFS Working Papers W99/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1997. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," NBER Working Papers 6193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Nicole Maestas, 2004. "Back to Work: Expectations and Realizations of Work After Retirement," Working Papers wp085, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  11. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1995. "Evaluation of the Subjective Probabilities of Survival in the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages s268-s292.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp128. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (MRRC Administrator)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.