Employee Financial Literacy and Retirement Plan Behavior: A Case Study

21 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2015

See all articles by Robert L. Clark

Robert L. Clark

North Carolina State University - Poole College of Management

Annamaria Lusardi

George Washington University - Department of Accountancy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Olivia S. Mitchell

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2015

Abstract

This paper uses administrative data on all active employees of the Federal Reserve System to examine participation in and contributions to the Thrift Saving Plan, the system’s defined contribution (DC) plan. We have appended to the administrative records a unique employee survey of economic/demographic factors including a set of financial literacy questions. Not surprisingly, Federal Reserve employees are more financially literate than the general population; furthermore, the most financially savvy are also most likely to participate in and contribute the most to their plan. Sophisticated workers contribute three percentage points more of their earnings to the DC plan than do the less knowledgeable, and they hold more equity in their pension accounts. Finally, we examine changes in employee plan behavior a year after the financial literacy survey and compare it to the baseline. We find that employees who completed an educational module were more likely to start contributing and less likely to have stopped contributing to the DC plan post-survey.

Suggested Citation

Clark, Robert L. and Lusardi, Annamaria and Mitchell, Olivia S., Employee Financial Literacy and Retirement Plan Behavior: A Case Study (August 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21461. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2645557

Robert L. Clark (Contact Author)

North Carolina State University - Poole College of Management ( email )

Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27695-8614
United States
919-515-5560 (Phone)
919-515-5564 (Fax)

Annamaria Lusardi

George Washington University - Department of Accountancy ( email )

George Washington University School of Business
Washington, DC 20052
United States

HOME PAGE: http://business.gwu.edu/profiles/annamaria-lusardi/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Olivia S. Mitchell

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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