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

401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

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This report describes seven major policy issues with respect to defined contribution plans.

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An Update on 401(k) Plans: Insights from the 2007 SCF

Publication

The Survey of Consumer Finances is a triennial survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. households, which collects detailed information on households’ assets, liabilities, and demographic characteristics.

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401(k) plans move away from employer stock as investment vehicle

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A look at the trend in 401(k) investment options over the past two decades shows a steady move away from employer stock as an investment vehicle.

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Fee Disclosure to Pension Participants: Establishing Minimum Requirements

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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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