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The Predictable SurpriseUnraveling the U.S. Retirement System$
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Sylvester J. Schieber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199890958

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199890958.001.0001

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We’ve Killed the Goose, Let’s Gild the Eggs

We’ve Killed the Goose, Let’s Gild the Eggs

(p.263) 23 We’ve Killed the Goose, Let’s Gild the Eggs
The Predictable Surprise

Sylvester J. Schieber

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines concerns about what workers do with their participant-directed retirement savings plans. While recent restructuring has made defined contribution plans considerably more effective savings vehicles, what people do with these portable accounts when they switch jobs or retire is not clear given that many workers have trouble making sound financial decisions. The chapter presents data showing the disposition of employer-sponsored retirement benefits at termination of employment between 1992 and 2004. It considers the increase in the number of retirees who discarded retirement annuities in favor of managing their retirement accumulations on their own. It also discusses proposals to automatically annuitize retirement savings and the residual risks that remain even if annuitization at retirement becomes automatic. The chapter suggests that there are no magic solutions to retirement security dilemmas.

Keywords:   retirement savings, defined contribution plans, retirement benefits, retirees, retirement annuities, annuitization, retirement, retirement security

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