Earnings and 401(k) Contribution Profiles of Three Cohorts: Evidence from Social Security Records

Published: 2009
Project ID: UM09-13


For respondents in the Health and Retirement Study who gave data release consents in 2004, the SSA W-2 earnings records contain information on annual earnings for years 1951-2003, annual tax-deferred contributions for 1990-2003, and sufficient information to calculate tax-deferred contributions for 1984-1989. We will use this new information to compare the three cohorts’ earnings and 401(k) contribution profiles, and to examine whether younger cohorts (War Babies and Early Baby Boomers) are saving more at the same stage of the life cycle than the original HRS cohort. We will also investigate whether the younger cohorts are better informed about their 401(k) saving than the older cohort.