NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Financial Education and Choice in State Public Pension Systems

Julie Agnew, Joshua Hurwitz

NBER Working Paper No. 18907
Issued in March 2013
NBER Program(s):   PE

As more and more public pension systems are shifting away from a defined benefit only framework, the complexity of the financial decisions facing public employees is increasing. This raises some concerns about the financial literacy of participants and their ability to make informed decisions. While surveys addressing financial education in private plans are available, little is known about what types of education and advice are offered in public plans. This paper fills this gap by presenting new results from the first National Public Pension Plan Financial Education Survey. The paper focuses specifically on primary defined contribution and hybrid plans. The results indicate that some form of education or advice is offered by every surveyed plan and that the sponsoring entity is actively involved in the development of the programs. However, it appears that legal uncertainties related to advice and education may be a problem for a few plans. In addition, more rigorous evaluation methods to test programs are needed. The paper concludes with suggestions for areas of future research.

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A data appendix is available at http://www.nber.org/data-appendix/w18907

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18907

Published: Financial Education and Choice in State Public Pension Systems, Julie Agnew, Josh Hurwitz. in Retirement Benefits for State and Local Employees: Designing Pension Plans for the Twenty-First Century, Clark, Rauh, and Duggan. 2014

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