THE SOCIAL INSURANCE RESEARCH NETWORK (SIRN), sponsored by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) The Social Insurance Research Network (SIRN), directed by Larry Atkins, President, National Academy of Social Insurance, is an online venue providing access to scholarly research and professional announcements in the Social Insurance community. Social Insurance includes the systems for insuring workers and their families against economic insecurity caused by the loss of income from work and the cost of health care, such as Social Security, Medicare, Workers' Compensation, unemployment insurance, related social assistance and private employee benefits. NASI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding and informed policymaking on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training, and the open exchange of ideas. SIRN is dedicated to increasing communication among social insurance scholars, practitioners, and policy makers throughout the world.

Table of Contents

Retirement Planning Among Middle-Aged and Older Hispanics

Luisa R. Blanco, Pepperdine University School of Public Policy
Emma Aguila, RAND Corporation
Arturo Gongora, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Beverly Weidmer, RAND Corporation
Kenrik Duru, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

How Does the Funding Status of Defined Benefit Pension Plans Affect Investment Decisions?

Neeru Chaudhry, Monash University - Department of Banking and Finance
Hue Hwa Au Yong, Monash University - Department of Banking and Finance, Financial Research Network (FIRN)
Chris Veld, Monash University

In the Pursuit of Domestic Tranquility - Matrimonial Attorneys Should Follow the Bouncing Beneficiary Designations

Andrew L. Oringer, Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Dechert LLP
Albert Feuer, Law Offices of Albert Feuer


"Retirement Planning Among Middle-Aged and Older Hispanics" Free Download
CESR-Schaeffer Working Paper No. 2015-003

LUISA R. BLANCO, Pepperdine University School of Public Policy
ARTURO GONGORA, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
KENRIK DURU, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The goal of this study is to deepen the understanding of how middle age and older Hispanics plan for retirement, where we conducted four focus groups in the Los Angeles area with a total of 38 participants. Our study provides interesting findings, specifically for women since 84 percent of the participants were female. We find that that most participants, whether they were already retired or not, are not well prepared for retirement since they have been unable to save for retirement and have not made specific retirement plans, such as determining desired retirement age, estimating retirement budget, and collecting information about expected retirement benefits. In relation to saving on a regular basis, results were mixed. Some participants are able to save on a regular basis, but others cannot save because they live day to day. Our study contributes to the literature by showing how family experiences and religion play a significant role in retirement planning among this population. We found that the majority of the participants had parents who did not plan for retirement, and very few had parents who were able to save. We also found that many participants do now worry about retirement because they believe “God will provide.� We also found an interesting shift in relation to intergenerational transfers and family networks. While many participants help their parents, most of them do not want to ask children for help and do not expect getting help from them.

"How Does the Funding Status of Defined Benefit Pension Plans Affect Investment Decisions?" Free Download

NEERU CHAUDHRY, Monash University - Department of Banking and Finance
HUE HWA AU YONG, Monash University - Department of Banking and Finance, Financial Research Network (FIRN)
CHRIS VELD, Monash University

We investigate whether the flexibility in making defined benefit pension contributions allows managers to save cash and increase investments. Firms invest more at higher levels of pension deficit, defined as pension benefit obligations less pension assets scaled by total assets. At the median level (90th percentile) of pension deficit, investment increases by 6.7 cents (9.4 cents) for every dollar increase in cash. As the pension deficit increases, firms deviate more from the predicted level of investment. These findings suggest that the incremental investments are more likely to represent over-investment by managers. Our results are robust to alternative model specifications and endogeneity concerns that may arise if the investment is determined jointly with the funding policy of pension plans and the firm’s target cash level.

"In the Pursuit of Domestic Tranquility - Matrimonial Attorneys Should Follow the Bouncing Beneficiary Designations" Free Download
Andrew L. Oringer and Albert Feuer, In the Pursuit of Domestic Tranquility - Matrimonial Attorneys Should Follow the Bouncing Beneficiary Designations, 43 Comp. Plan. J. 43 (March 6, 2015)

ANDREW L. ORINGER, Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Dechert LLP
ALBERT FEUER, Law Offices of Albert Feuer

The Supreme Court, in Kennedy v. Plan Administrator for DuPont Savings and Investment Plan, 555 U.S. 285 (2009) identified the “plan documents� rule (the “Plan Documents Rule�) as the legal doctrine that controls the inquiry regarding beneficiary identification for ERISA plans. The Plan Documents Rule presents an extremely bright-line standard. Generally, the inquiry starts and stops with determining who is designated as the applicable beneficiary under and in accordance with the governing plan. However, Kennedy, in a footnote, raised a question as to whether a claimant may have a cause of action against a person to whom the plan paid benefits in accordance with the governing plan documents.

This article reviews the Court's Kennedy approach, discusses the approach taken in various post-Kennedy cases, and show how the Plan Document Rule may pose a trap for the unwary. If the beneficiary designation under an ERISA-governed plan is inconsistent with other domestic-relations documents, or otherwise inconsistent with the parties’ apparent intent, the beneficiary designation will nevertheless govern the plan’s benefit payment obligation. However, there may be litigation and disputes about whether the plan’s designated beneficiary is entitled to retain the benefit amounts received from the ERISA plan. Further, such disputes may arise for an ERISA plan that is a pension plan, a life-insurance plan, or some other type of plan, or whether the plan terms include a revocation upon divorce provision.

Fortunately, the Plan Documents Rule also provides a clear path to accuracy and certainty for a plan participant and all parties affected by the participant’s marital dissolution. Domestic-relations attorneys can do so by (i) consulting with their clients, (ii) ascertaining the intent of the clients and drafting the applicable dissolution documentation reflecting that intent, and (iii) critically, consulting with their clients so that the plan participant ultimately submits post-dissolution beneficiary designations consistent with the intended terms of the dissolution.


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This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts on all topics related to old age pensions and retirement. This includes papers on social security, employment based pensions and other publicly provided or tax-favored mechanisms for retirement income. The journal welcomes submissions from any discipline and a broad range of topic areas, including benefit adequacy, pension finance, the design and reform of social security and pension systems, retirement policy, and comparative analyses of U.S. pension and retirement issues with those of other countries.


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Advisory Board

Social Security, Pensions & Retirement Income eJournal

Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program

Director, Management, Finance and Leadership Program - University of Maryland

Walter Coles Professor of Law Emeritus, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

Frank J. Manning Eminent Scholar's Chair in Gerontology, University of Massachusetts Boston - Gerontology Institute

Professor of Social Work and Public Administration, Syracuse University - School of Social Work

Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, Executive Director, Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Peter F. Drucker Professor in Management Sciences, Boston College - Center for Retirement Research

University Professor, Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Attorney and Consultant, Arnold & Porter, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board

Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

Research Director, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Professor of Sociology, Boston College - Department of Sociology