Retirees With Pension Income and Characteristics of Their Former Job

February 2003, Vol. 24, No. 2
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 176 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2003

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Executive Summary

Retirees With Pension Income and Characteristics of Their Former Job—Retirees' receipt of pension income significantly affects their ability to maintain a standard of living similar to that of their preretirement years. This article examines the percentage of retirees receiving pension income and the characteristics of these individuals as well as those of their former employers. Drawing on data from 1998, it finds that among Americans age 65 or older, 44.5 percent had pension income in annuity form (either from their own or a spouse's former employer). When the population is narrowed to those who had worked for pay, 54.5 percent had traditional pension income. If other types of pension income such as 401(k)-type plans are included, the percentage having pension income increases to 57.5 percent. Retirees who were nonwhite, less educated, worked for smaller firms, had shorter tenure at their last job, worked for a private-sector employer, were not a union member, or had lower earnings prior to retirement were less likely to have pension income. Male retirees were more than twice as likely to have pension income as female retirees.