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

  • James Poterba
  • Steven Venti
  • David A. Wise

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13083.pdf
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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 New Estimates of the Future Path of 401(k) Assets , James M. Poterba, Steven F. Venti, David A. Wise. in Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 22 , Poterba. 2008
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13083
Note: AG
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  1. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro and Micro Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David A. Wise, 2007. "The Decline of Defined Benefit Retirement Plans and Asset Flows," NBER Working Papers 12834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  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. 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.
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