In recent years several large employers have replaced their traditional defined benefit pension plans with cash balance plans. This brief compares outcomes under each plan for a national sample of Americans near retirement with pension coverage. The findings show that cash balance plans would redistribute pension wealth from those who held long-term jobs to those with a series of short-term jobs. Individuals with limited pension wealth, especially those in the bottom quartile, would also benefit. Surprisingly, many women now approaching retirement age would lose pension wealth under cash balance plans, but future cohorts of older women are likely to fare better.
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