First Tuesdays -- Frozen Pensions and Falling Stocks: What Will Happen to Retirees' Incomes?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Noon-1:30 ET

Listen to the event
Audio Recording

In recent years, many companies have frozen their defined benefit pension plans, replacing them with defined contribution plans in which employees bear the risks of changes in market values. But in the past year, stock values have fallen 40 percent, creating huge losses for those counting on their assets in 401(k) and other defined contribution plans to fund their retirement. These seismic shifts will severely hurt the retirement prospects of many workers, but others may benefit from the switch to 401(k) plans and the chance to buy into the market at bargain prices. The effects will vary sharply across different age and income groups.

Our panel of experts will bring us up to date on how employers are adjusting their retirement plans to this changing economic environment, how recent and prospective changes in pension offers and market values will affect workers’ retirement, and how policymakers might respond to improve financial security for new and future retirees.


Peter Brady
Peter Brady, senior economist, Investment Company Institute

Howard Gleckman
Howard Gleckman, senior research associate, Urban Institute (moderator)

Janet McCubbin
Janet McCubbin, director, economic issues, AARP Public Policy Institute

Eric Toder
Eric Toder, senior fellow, Urban Institute

Jack VanDerhei
Jack VanDerhei, research director, Employee Benefit Research Institute

At the Urban Institute
2100 M Street N.W., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C.

- Bios (pdf)
- Vanderhei presentation (pdf)
- Toder presentation: Disappearing Pensions, Crashing Stocks,and Boomers’ Retirement (pdf)
- The Disappearing Defined-Benefit Pension and Its Potential Impact on the Retirement Incomes of Boomers (pdf)
- How Is the Financial Crisis Affecting Retirement Savings? (link)
McCubbin papers:
- The Coverage of Employer-Provided Pensions: Partial and Uncertain   (link)
- The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Older Americans (link)
- Brady presentation (pdf)

- Can 401(k) Accumulations Generate Significant Income for Future Retirees
- The Influence of Automatic Enrollment, Catch-Up, and IRA Contributions on 401(k) Accumulations at Retirement
- The Expected Impact of Automatic Escalation of 401(k) Contributions on Retirement Income
- The Impact of PPA on Retirement Savings for 401(k) Participants
- 401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2007
- The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Workers’ Retirement Security

Webcast note:
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Source: The Urban Institute, © 2012 |