Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
The rise of 401(k) plans and the decline of defined benefit plans will have an important effect on the wealth of future retirees. Changing demographic structure also will affect the aggregate stock of retirement wealth. We project the stock of assets held in retirement plans and the average retirement saving of retirees through 2040. Our projections show large increases in wealth at retirement, especially if the returns on corporate equities are comparable with historical returns. Retirement wealth will grow, however, even if equity returns fall substantially below their historical level.
Poterba, James; Venti, Steven; and Wise, David A., "The Shift from Defined Benefit Pensions to 401(k) Plans and the Pension Assets of the Baby Boom Cohort" (2007). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 1433.