Upjohn Author ORCID Identifier


Publication Date



Upjohn Institute working paper ; 22-378

**Published Version**

In Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 214: 561-573




We conduct a randomized controlled trial to understand how a web-based retirement saving calculator affects workers’ retirement-savings decisions. In both conditions, the calculator projects workers’ retirement income goals. In the treatment condition, it also projects retirement income based on defined-contribution savings, prominently displays the gap between projected goal and actual retirement income, and allows users to interactively explore how alternative, future contribution choices would affect the gap. The treatment increased average annual retirement contributions by $174 (2.3 percent). However, effects were larger for those with greater financial knowledge, suggesting this type of tool complements, rather than substitutes for, underlying financial capability.

Issue Date

November 2022


Upjohn project #69115


U.S. Social Security Administration Grant #5-RRC08098400-10, National Bureau of Economic Research, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Retirement and pensions


Get in touch with the expert

Want to arrange to discuss this work with the author(s)? Contact our .



Goda, Gopi Shah, Matthew R. Levy, Colleen Flaherty Manchester, Aaron Sojourner, Joshua Tasoff, and Jiusi Xiao. 2022. "Are Retirement Planning Tools Substitutes or Complements to Financial Capability?" Upjohn Institute Working Paper 22-378. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. https://doi.org/10.17848/wp22-378