Journal of Retirement’s Spring Issue Appears

The eight articles are available to the Journal of Retirement's paid subscribers. Brief descriptions of the articles are provided here.

The Spring 2017 issue of the Journal of Retirement, Vol. 4, No. 4, has rolled out, with eight new articles on a variety of topics, encompassing public pensions, defined contribution plans, health status and retirement costs, “best interest” rollover decisions, TIPS, “white label funds,” and Social Security.

Here are the titles of the scholarly articles and abstracts of their abstracts:

Floods and Deserts: Why the Dream of a Secure Pension for Everyone Is Still Unattained, by Stephen C. Sexauer and Laurence B. Siegel. Many public defined-benefit pension plans have become seriously underfunded because pension sponsors made promises and budgeted for pension contributions as if the high stock market returns in 1982–1999 would continue, then entered a periodic historically low interest rates. The authors advise plan sponsors and beneficiaries to improve public sector productivity and using the cost savings to fill current funding gaps.

Health State and the Savings Required for a Sustainable Retirement, by W.V. Harlow and Keith C. Brown. The authors show that the savings required to fund a successful retirement for someone with one of several diseases whose impact on life expectancy has been estimated can be reduced by as much as 26% for females and 33% for males relative to the savings required for a healthy individual. Similarly, the savings required to fund healthcare expenses in retirement can be reduced by 29% to 39%.

Improving the Defined-Contribution System: The U.S. Can Learn from Other Countries’ Approaches to Helping Retirees Convert Their Savings into Lifetime Incomeby Aron Szapiro. The authors explore several ways in which the U.S. drawdown system contrasts with other countries’ approaches, particularly in the encouragement given retirees to annuitize their assets. This discussion also addresses the role of regulation and industry structure in promoting lifetime income.

Do People Get the Information They Need When They Claim Social Security? by Laurel Beedon, Lilia Chaidez, Susan Chin, Mark Glickman, and Joel Marus. This study examines the extent to which people understand Social Security rules affecting their retirement benefits, and what information the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides to individuals. The problems the authors observed during the claims interviews occurred in part because the questions included in the claims process did not cover some key information.

Too Little or Too Much? Women’s Economic Risk Exposure, by Christian E. Weller and Michele E. Tolson. This article explores the reasons behind the inequality of wealth by gender, and urges employers and policymakers to consider ways to lower the costs associated with hard-to-avoid risks in the labor market and through caregiving as a way of addressing gender wealth inequality

To Roll or Not to Roll: A Framework for Assessing the Benefit of IRA Rollovers, by David M. Blanchett and Paul D. Kaplan. Noting that there is little research on what determines whether a rollover is in the “best interests” of an investor, Blanchett and Kaplan outline a framework to make this decision, with a focus on the potential decision to roll retirement plan savings into an IRA managed by a financial advisor. Fees, investments, and services offered, and the services being provided should all be considered, they write.

The Role of Long-Maturity TIPS in Retirement Portfolios, by Steve Sapra and Niels Pedersen. Long-duration Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) should play an important role in the portfolios of workers who are within 10 to 20 years of retirement, this article claims. Long TIPS provide them with a risk-free source of real retirement income.

White Label Funds: A No-Nonsense Design Handbook, by Rod Bare, Jay Kloepfer, Lori Lucas, and James Veneruso. “White label funds” are the next breakthrough for fiduciaries of large defined contribution plans committed to providing their participants with the best solutions, these authors argue. They cite pricing efficiencies, customization to specific participants, improved governance, safety with quality, and access to good low-cost defined benefit plan managers as the advantages that these generic investment structures offer.

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