Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Defined contribution (DC) pension plans have helped many individuals accumulate assets for retirement. However, DC plans do not typically offer retirement income options. We first consider the question of whether DC plans offer retirement income advantages compared to retail options. We find that DC plans advantages include costs, access and efficacy. However, successfully extending DC plans into the income phase of retirement requires recognizing the importance of choice. Companies choose what features to offer in their 401(k) plan, and individuals choose whether to avail themselves of available options. The remainder of the paper explores some of the key aspects of company and individual preferences that must be recognized if successful policies and income options are to be developed for DC plans and participants.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2013 publication: The Market for Retirement Financial Advice.

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2012 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

Included in

Economics Commons



Date Posted: 28 June 2019