Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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This paper is concerned with advice-seeking by DC plan participants as they approach retirement, focusing upon the categories, correlates and timing of advice-seeking. Our empirical analysis utilizes a large Australian data base, identifies the drivers of advice-seeking behavior and, most importantly, pinpoints age-specific reference points that appear to prompt participants to seek advice about retirement planning from the plan administrator. We analyze the patterns of advice-seeking by older participants, focusing upon the topics-raised and determinants of advice-seeking discriminating between the effects of age, gender and account balances on retirement planning. An important aspect of the paper concerns whether there is evidence of an increasing focus on retirement as participants go from 45-49 years to 65 years or more. Implications are drawn for the design of pension plans as regards their engagement with older participants.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2017 publication: Financial Decision Making and Retirement Security in an Aging World.


Advice, pensions, retirement planning, age, gender

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Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2016 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.


The authors are grateful for research support provided by NIH/NIA Grant #P30-AG12836 and NIH/NICHD Population Research Infrastructure Program R24 HD-044964, and the Pension Research Council/Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Security at the University of Pennsylvania. The authors also received research funding from the Metzler Exchange Professor program at the Goethe University of Frankfurt, the German Investment and Asset Management Association (BVI), and the Special Research Fund at the SKK GSB, SKK University. The Wharton High Performance Computing Platform provided an excellent setting for the numerical analysis. Opinions, findings, interpretations, and conclusions represent the views of the authors and not those of the affiliated institutions.



Date Posted: 06 March 2019