EBRI Notes

"Preservation and Annuitization in Retirement Saving Accounts" and "BLS Survey Shows Change in Group Health and Retirement Plan Participation"

Jan 1, 1998 12  pages


Preservation and Annuitization in Retirement Saving Accounts—Many workers are accumulating significant amounts of money in individual account retirement saving vehicles such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k) plans, and other forms of defined contribution plans. A great deal of attention is currently being focused on the decisions that workers must make regarding their participation in these plans: first, whether to participate, and then, how much to contribute and how to allocate assets among the options available. In addition, attention is paid to the issue of benefit preservation on job change, i.e., do workers spend their account balances or do they roll them over into an IRA or a new employer's plan or leave them in their former employer's plan. Little attention has been focused to date on the decisions that workers make regarding the disposition of their account balances on reaching retirement age. Are these assets simply annuitized by most? Do the funds continue to be actively invested, say in an IRA account?

BLS Survey Shows Change in Group Health and Retirement Plan Participation—Medicare as an Participation in the two major employee benefit programs—group health insurance and retirement income plans—declined between 1980 and 1995, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employee benefit survey of medium and large private establishments. The 1995 survey covers 33.4 million full-time workers and 6.8 million part-time workers in nonfarm establishments employing 100 or more employees. BLS gathers the data for this survey by obtaining the plan documentation from a randomly selected sample of employers and conducting follow-up interviews for clarification.