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An Analysis of Retirement Models to Improve Portability and Coverage

Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

"The lack of portability is caused largely by administrative barriers to moving money from one 401(k) plan to another, which is often the best choice for mobile workers. Without easy portability, money either becomes stranded in small accounts or moves either involuntarily or voluntarily to IRAs. The retail IRA market is characterized by less protective regulation, possible conflicts of interest, and higher fees. Finally, the combined workplace/IRA system allows ample access to assets before retirement through cashouts and in-service withdrawals. While some access to retirement savings may well be desirable, the current environment reduces 401(k)/IRA wealth at retirement by about one quarter."

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