Partial recall: Differences between actual and self-reported annuitization decisions in Sweden

This paper reports the results from a large telephone survey of 1,000 retiring white-collar workers in Sweden. Shortly before the interview, the participants at age 65 had a choice of receiving a life annuity by default or opting for a fixed-term payout, with a minimum payout length of five years. Large monetary amounts were at stake in the payout decision of the survey participants; the average monthly pension payment under the life annuity amounted to USD 280. Comparing the survey responses with administrative records on actual payout choices, I find that a majority
of retiring white-collar workers fail to recall their payout decision. The recollection rate is much lower among annuitants (those who chose the default option); only 40% of the annuitants accurately recalled their payout decision compared to 77% of those who opted for a fi xed-term payout. Beyond payout choice, few individual characteristics predict successful recollection.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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