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Defined Contribution Plans (such as 401(k)s) and IRAs

Fee Disclosure to Pension Participants: Establishing Minimum Requirements

Publication

Every year pension participants pay billions of dollars in fees. They need information concerning fees to make informed decisions about the services they are purchasing...This analysis of fee disclosure takes into account insights from behavioral economics in assessing the usefulness of different approaches...The report proposes a model fee disclosure.

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Storm Clouds Ahead for 401(k) Plans?

Publication

Designed to promote retirement saving, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 clarified auto-enrollment, auto-contribution, and auto-investment rules in employer 401(k) plans. Early evidence suggests that the legislation boosted these plan features and increased employee participation in 401(k) plans.

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Robbing Tomorrow to Pay for Today: Economically Squeezed Families Are Turning to Their 401(k)s to Make Ends Meet

Publication

To reduce the likelihood of workers leveraging their retirement to cover current catastrophes, policymakers must reduce the need for people to borrow. Policy solutions will require substantial improvements to income growth for America’s families, and a commitment to providing health and unemployment insurance to citizens who experience unexpected health expenditures and job loss.

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Private Pensions: Low Defined Contribution Plan Savings May Pose Challenges to Retirement Security, Especially for Many Low-Income Workers

Publication

This report addresses the following issues: (1) What percentage of workers participate in defined contribution (DC) plans, and how much have they saved in them? (2) How much are workers likely to have saved in DC plans over their careers and to what degree do key individual decisions and plan features affect plan saving?

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Retirement Savings Accounts: Fees, Expenses, and Account Balances

Publication

For this report, CRS estimated the effect of 401(k) account expenses ranging from 0.4% to 2.0% of assets on the amounts accumulated in retirement accounts over a thirty-year period by married couples and single persons with high, median, and low earnings who contribute 6%, 8%, or 10% of earnings each year to a retirement account invested in a mix of stocks and bonds.

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Private Pension Plan Bulletin: Abstract of 2004 Form 5500 Annual Reports

Publication

This report, published annually, provides basic statistical data on the types of retirement plans offered, how many people participated in each type of plan, and the amount of assets in each type. The report also includes historical tables from 1975 to 2004.

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Why Some Workers Don’t Take 401(k) Plan Offers: Inertia versus Economics

Publication

This paper examines workers who do not choose to participate in pension plans offered by their employers. It investigates reasons why workers do not participate, and in particular it investigates the role of inertia and similar behavioral explanations for nonparticipation.

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Access, Participation, and Take-up Rates in Defined Contribution Retirement Plans among Workers in Private Industry, 2006

Publication

Employee participation rates for defined contribution retirement plans vary widely among groups of workers and their employers, primarily reflecting how frequently the employers provide access for employees to participate in these plans.

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Private Pensions: Changes Needed to Provide 401(k) Plan Participants and the Department of Labor Better Information on Fees

Publication

Because of concerns about the effects of 401(k) fees on participants’ retirement savings, GAO examined (1) the types of fees associated with 401(k) plans and who pays these fees, (2) how information on fees is disclosed to plan participants, and (3) how the Department of Labor oversees plan fees and certain business arrangements.

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401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2005

Publication

This report serves as an update of EBRI and ICI’s ongoing research into 401(k) plan participants’ activity through year-end 2005. The report includes account balance information for participants who consistently maintained accounts between 1999 and 2005 and account balances, asset allocations, and loan activity for all 401(k) participants at year-end 2005.

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