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Financial Education and Choice in State Public Pension Systems

  • Julie Agnew
  • Joshua Hurwitz
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    As more and more public pension systems are shifting away from a defined benefit only framework, the complexity of the financial decisions facing public employees is increasing. This raises some concerns about the financial literacy of participants and their ability to make informed decisions. While surveys addressing financial education in private plans are available, little is known about what types of education and advice are offered in public plans. This paper fills this gap by presenting new results from the first National Public Pension Plan Financial Education Survey. The paper focuses specifically on primary defined contribution and hybrid plans. The results indicate that some form of education or advice is offered by every surveyed plan and that the sponsoring entity is actively involved in the development of the programs. However, it appears that legal uncertainties related to advice and education may be a problem for a few plans. In addition, more rigorous evaluation methods to test programs are needed. The paper concludes with suggestions for areas of future research.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18907.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18907.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2013
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    Publication status: published as Financial Education and Choice in State Public Pension Systems , Julie Agnew, Josh Hurwitz. in Retirement Benefits for State and Local Employees: Designing Pension Plans for the Twenty-First Century , Clark, Rauh, and Duggan. 2014
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18907
    Note: PE
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: The Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," Working Papers wp114, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    2. Gopi Shah Goda & Colleen Flaherty Manchester, 2010. "Incorporating Employee Heterogeneity into Default Rules for Retirement Plan Selection," NBER Working Papers 16099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in the United States," NBER Working Papers 17108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2011. "Financial literacy around the world: an overview," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 497-508, October.
    5. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S Mitchelli, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness: Evidence and Implications for Financial Education," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 35-44, January.
    6. Agnew, Julie R. & Szykman, Lisa R. & Utkus, Stephen P. & Young, Jean A., 2012. "Trust, plan knowledge and 401(k) savings behavior," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 1-20, January.
    7. Angela A. Hung & Joanne Yoong, 2010. "Asking for Help: Survey And Experimental Evidence on Financial Advice And Behavior Change," Working Papers 714-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
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