Would 401(k) Participants Use a Social Security “Bridge” Option?

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The brief’s key findings are:

  • As an alternative to annuities, retirees could use a portion of their 401(k) assets to delay claiming Social Security, effectively buying more lifetime income.
  • To gauge interest in this unfamiliar option, an experiment tested ways to present the bridge, including through an insurance frame or as a default.
  • The results show that:
    • a substantial minority of participants expressed interest in the bridge; and
    • the use of insurance framing and, especially, defaults increased the share of assets allocated to the bridge.
  • These results are a first step; future work should examine the impact of a default in a more realistic setting.