DOL to seek data on retirement planning strategy development, decisionsNews added by Benefits Pro on March 4, 2016

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Marlene Y. Satter

The Department of Labor is going to look at something that hasn’t been studied all that much before: how people make planning and financial decisions before and during retirement.

The goal of the long-term research study is to figure out how retirement planning strategies and decisions evolve over time.

The “On the Road to Retirement” surveys are intended to track U.S. households over several years to gain insight into people’s decisionmaking processes and experiences.

Research questions will cover retirement savings, investment and drawdown behavior.

According to the DOL, household reports of such items as retirement account contributions and investment allocations will be combined with survey responses on planning methods and strategies and on financial advice received to perform a cross-sectional analysis that is conditional on other respondent attributes.

Multiple sources of data from various surveys, it said, will be used to analyze how retirement planning strategies, decisions and outcomes evolve over time.

Such data could prove extremely helpful in figuring out ways to cope with the retirement crisis and uncover reasons why so many people fail to save enough for retirement — or fail to follow plans they made that might have been better designed to prepare them for a long period of retirement.

Despite people’s intentions to the contrary, a Boston College study from its Center for Retirement Research found that they’re often compelled to retire before they’d originally intended, with health a motivator in many cases.

In addition, another survey from Fidelity Investments and the Stanford Center on Longevity found that emotional factors can play a large role in people’s decisions about when to leave the workplace.

And yet another research paper from the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School found that regardless of what people say they plan to do about retirement, their actions are often different — so they should plan for their plans to be frustrated.

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