Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Soon the largest cohort of workers in U.S. history will be eligible to retire. Most will have only their personal saving and a lump-sum benefit from a 401(k) plan to supplement Social Security benefits during retirement. The proceeds of these 401(k) and IRA benefits represent the largest amount of money these individuals have ever managed, and the challenges and hazards they face are enormous. This chapter evaluates the regulatory and enforcement structures in place to protect individuals from financial loss through the insolvency, fiscal mismanagement, and/or malfeasance of those who help them manage and invest their retirement distributions.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2008 publication: Recalibrating Retirement Spending and Saving.


financial loss, retiree protection, 401(k), social security, financial management

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All opinions, findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent only the views of the authors and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2007 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.


The authors thank Joseph J. Shelton for his invaluable assistance in the research and preparation of this paper.

Included in

Economics Commons



Date Posted: 17 December 2019