Published: July 2, 2021


Ghafoori, E., Ip, E., & Kabátek, J. (2021). The impacts of a large-scale financial education intervention on retirement saving behaviors and portfolio allocation: Evidence from pension fund data. Journal of Banking & Finance, 130, 106195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2021.106195

Authors:

Eraj Ghafoori, Edwin Ip, and Jan Kabátek.


Abstract:

We analyze the causal impact of a large-scale financial education intervention on retirement saving behaviors and asset allocation decisions. The studied intervention is a nationwide retirement seminar program that is administered by a major Australian pension fund. Making use of the variation in the timing of seminar invitations, we find that seminar attendance has large positive effects on a range of desirable behaviors. Over a span of two years, the seminars generate excess voluntary contributions worth 6 per cent of the attending members’ pension balances. Seminar attendees also become more likely to use sophisticated portfolio allocation strategies, lowering the risk of their asset holdings as they approach retirement. We show that the seminars are highly profitable for both the fund and its members, which highlights the unique potential for an active role of pension funds in the domain of financial education and retirement planning.