Pensions (1 - 10 of 464 items)
401(K) Plans: Effects of Eligibility and Vesting Policies on Workers' Retirement Savings
GAO-17-69: Published: Oct 21, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 2016.
GAO's nongeneralizable survey of 80 401(k) plans ranging in size from fewer than 100 participants to more than 5,000 and its review of industry data found that many plans have policies that affect workers' ability to (1) save in plans (eligibility policies), (2) receive employer contributions, and (3) keep those employer contributions if they leave their job (vesting policies). Thirty-three of 80...
401(K) PLANS: DOL Could Take Steps to Improve Retirement Income Options for Plan Participants
GAO-16-433: Published: Aug 9, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2016.
Workers relying in large part on their 401(k) plan in retirement may not always have a feasible way to make their savings last throughout retirement. Responses to GAO’s non-generalizable questionnaire from 11 401(k) plan record keepers—entities that manage participant account data and transactions for plans—showed that most plans covered by the questionnaire had not adopted products and serv...
Retirement Security: Low Defined Contribution Savings May Pose Challenges
GAO-16-408: Published: May 5, 2016. Publicly Released: May 5, 2016.
An estimated 40 percent of all U.S. households had some retirement savings in a defined contribution (DC) plan, such as a 401(k) plan, in 2013, and account balances varied by household income and race in recent years, according to the most recent data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). The 60 percent of all households (and specifically the 44 percent of working households) without any DC...
Retirement Security: Shorter Life Expectancy Reduces Projected Lifetime Benefits for Lower Earners
GAO-16-354: Published: Mar 25, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 2016.
The increase in average life expectancy for older adults in the United States contributes to challenges for retirement planning by the government, employers, and individuals. Social Security retirement benefits and traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans, both key sources of retirement income that promise lifetime benefits, are now required to make payments to retirees for an increasing num...
Retirement Security: Better Information on Income Replacement Rates Needed to Help Workers Plan for Retirement
GAO-16-242: Published: Mar 1, 2016. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 2016.
Household spending patterns varied by age, with mid-career households (those aged 45-49) spending more than older households. For example, according to 2013 survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mid-career households spent an estimated average of around $58,500, while young retiree households (those aged 65-69) spent about 20 percent less. While the share of spending was consisten...
Pension Advance Transactions: Questionable Business Practices and the Federal Response
GAO-15-846T: Published: Sep 30, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2015.
In a June 2014 report, GAO identified at least 38 companies that offered individuals lump-sum payments or “advances” in exchange for receiving part or all of their pension payment streams. The 38 companies used multistep pension advance processes that included various other parties. At least 21 of the 38 companies were affiliated with each other in ways that were not apparent to consumers. Som...
401(K) Plans: Clearer Regulations Could Help Plan Sponsors Choose Investments for Participants
GAO-15-578: Published: Aug 25, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 4, 2015.
Employers who sponsor 401(k) plans report using a range of default investment types to automatically enroll employees in their plans based on each type's design and other attributes. From 2009 through 2013, the majority of employers who sponsored 401(k) plans reported using a target-date fund as their default, according to data from three annual industry surveys that GAO reviewed. A target-date fu...
Retirement Security: Most Households Approaching Retirement Have Low Savings
GAO-15-419: Published: May 12, 2015. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 2015.
Many retirees and workers approaching retirement have limited financial resources. About half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings (such as in a 401(k) plan or an IRA). According to GAO's analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, many older households without retirement savings have few other resources, such as a defined benefit (DB) plan or nonretirement savings, to d...
Private Pensions: Participants Need Better Information When Offered Lump Sums That Replace Their Lifetime Benefits
GAO-15-74: Published: Jan 27, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2015.
Little public data are available to assess the extent to which sponsors of defined benefit plans are offering participants immediate lump sums to replace their lifetime annuities, but certain laws and regulations provide incentives for use of this practice. Although the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has primary responsibility for overseeing pension sponsors' reporting requirements, it does not re...
401(K) Plans: Greater Protections Needed for Forced Transfers and Inactive Accounts
GAO-15-73: Published: Nov 21, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 2014.
When a participant has saved less than $5,000 in a 401(k) plan and changes jobs without indicating what should be done with the money, the plan can transfer the account savings—a forced transfer—into an individual retirement account (IRA). Savings in these IRAs are intended to be preserved by the conservative investments allowed under Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. However, GAO found t...