Disposition of Supplemental Retirement Saving Assets

Principal Investigator: Robert Clark

Sponsor: Institute of Consumer Money Management

Award Period: 12/1/2017 - 11/30/2018

Amount: $99,935

Description: The optimal management and use of retirement saving can influence retirement income security and well-being. This study considers how recent retirees access and utilize retirement savings. We use survey data of public employees in North Carolina who retired between 2009 and 2014 merged with administrative records including past annual earnings and current benefits from the state’s defined benefit plan. The data allow us to determine whether individuals are making strategic financial errors such as maintaining high interest debt while leaving funds in retirement saving plans that yield lower annual returns. Further, we consider whether distribution decisions are influenced by individuals’ level of financial literacy and the sources of advice used by retirees to make financial decisions. The findings will inform policies aimed at assisting retirees to optimally access and manage retirement savings.