401k’s, 401k planning and general retirement issues have to be among the most popular areas of research in the social sciences. There is an incredible wealth of high-quality research, surveys, position papers, and other resources freely available to anyone via the internet.
We list below some of the best resources we know of. Each has a link to the organization’s website. If you know of a quality resource that’s not listed, feel free to submit it using this form.
|Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
The goals of the Center for Retirement Research are to promote research on retirement issues, to transmit new findings to the policy community and the public, to help train new scholars, and to broaden access to valuable data sources. Publications cover seven main areas: Social Security, Private Pensions, State and Local Pensions, Savings and Consumption, Work and Retirement, Health and International Issues.
|Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)
EBRI is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization. It analyzes and reports research data without spin or underlying agenda. EBRI studies the world of health and retirement benefits — issues such as 401(k)s, IRAs, retirement income adequacy, consumer-driven benefits, Social Security, tax treatment of both retirement and health benefits, cost management, worker and employer attitudes, policy reform proposals, and pension assets and funding. The EBRI website has a wealth of freely available data on 401k and other retirement issues.
Hewitt is one of the world's leading HR consulting and outsourcing companies. They freely share numerous research reports, articles and survey results concerning retirement issues and 401k's on their website.
|Michigan Retirement Research Center
The Michigan Retirement Research Center (MRRC) promotes high quality research on retirement and Social Security policy; communicates findings to the policy community and the public; enhances access to relevant research data; and helps to train new scholars. MRRC serves the public and policy community as an authoritative source of information on a range of issues related to retirement income security.MRRC is located at the University of Michigan. Their website contains several academic studies and briefs freely available for download.
|National Institute on Retirement Security
The National Institute on Retirement Security is a not-for-profit organization established to contribute to informed policymaking by fostering a deep understanding of the value of retirement security to employees, employers, and the economy through national research and education programs. NIRS seeks to encourage the development of public policies that enhance retirement security in America. NIRS has many free research publications available on their website. The organization takes an active lobbying role in favor of defined benefit retirement plans.
|Profit Sharing/401k Council of America
PSCA is a national, non-profit association of 1,200 companies and their 6 million plan participants. PSCA represents its members' interests to federal policymakers and offers practical, cost-effective assistance with profit sharing and 401(k) plan design, administration, investment, compliance and communication.The group produces many excellent publications and survey reports that are generally made available to the public.
|Retirement Made Simpler
A joint venture of AARP, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Retirement Security Project (RSP) pooling strengths to help employers and employees save more effectively through automatic 401k's. Automatic 401(k)s are a simple and effective solution to retirement savings. Many excellent resources available on their site.
|The Pension Research Council
The Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is committed to generating debate on key policy issues affecting pensions and other employee benefits. PRC sponsors interdisciplinary research on the entire range of private pension and social security programs, as well as related benefit plans in the United States and around the world.The PRC website includes numerous research papers and other resources. In order to download documents, t is necessary to register at the site.
|The Retirement Security Project
A partnership (between Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Brookings Institution) dedicated to promoting common sense solutions to improve the retirement income prospects of millions of American workers.
|U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
The GAO is known as "the investigative arm of Congress" and "the congressional watchdog." They produce many important studies and publications on retirement issues, 401k's, etc. that help drive key policy decisions in these areas. Their website is massive and the best way to find things is to use the search function in the upper right corner. Search 401(k) and nearly 200 separate publications are returned.
The Urban Institute gathers data, conducts research, evaluates programs, offers technical assistance overseas, and educates Americans on social and economic issues — to foster sound public policy and effective government. The Urban Institute shares research findings with policymakers, program administrators, business, academics, and the public online and through reports and scholarly books. One of the Institute's topical focus areas is "Retirement and Older Americans" which includes research on 401k's and other retirement planning issues.