Retirement Security in the United States — Current Sources, Future Prospects, and Likely Outcomes of Current Trends

ISBN 0-86643-100-4
Paperback, 158 pp
PDF, 1.04 mb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2006


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Executive Summary

This book provides an in-depth report on the status of todays retirement system in the United States and how it may change in the future.

It documents the long-term restructuring of the nations retirement programs, the changing pattern of retiree income across the age spectrum, the amounts that would be need to be saved beyond current savings for todays workers to retire with sufficient funds to meet basic living expenses, and the amounts that would need to be set aside in order for workers who experience a pension freeze to have the same level of retirement income that the former would have provided.

In addition, the book underlines the complexity of these issues and the degree to which income, age, and tenure of workers affects participation in the retirement system, the probabilities of successful outcomes, and the implications of system change for the individual. For retirees, the book presents the relative role of Social Security and other income sources in retirement, and provides an overview of the tremendous changes that take place in this mix as retirees age.

Citing demographic trends, the book notes that as baby boomers begin moving into retirement the population over age 65 will climb from just over 13 percent today to nearly 22 percent. This shift will bring with it a progressive increase in attention to issues related to delaying retirement, retiree health availability and affordability, long-term care, and how to produce income in retirement, the book says. There will be a tendency to rely upon generalizations or hypotheticals as opposed to detailed analysis. This report is intended to show the inherent risk in not undertaking detailed analysis for concerned parties.

The 158-page book contains 50 charts, and was written by Jack VanDerhei, Temple University and research director of the EBRI fellows program; Craig Copeland, senior EBRI research associate; and Dallas Salisbury, EBRI president and chief executive officer.