This paper evaluates the accuracy of estimates of pension wealth based on self-reports by comparing them to estimates based on provider data. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we found that few workers are well informed about their future pension benefits. Self-reports were often incomplete and typically varied widely from those based on information from providers. In defined benefit (DB) plans, discrepancies were greatest for workers who had limited education, earned low wages, and did not expect to retire soon. Differences in median pension wealth were smaller at the aggregate level than the individual level, because individual differences tended to offset each other when aggregated. Provider data appear better than self-reports for DB plans, but not for defined contribution (DC) plans. Where both are available, the best method of computing pension wealth may be to estimate DB wealth from provider data and to estimate DC wealth from self-reports.
|Number of pages||25|
|Journal||Review of Income and Wealth|
|State||Published - Mar 2000|