Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge

Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge

by Alicia H. Munnell, Steven A. Sass
     
 

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Daily headlines warn American workers that their retirement years may be far from golden. The main components of the retirement income system—Social Security and employer-provided pensions and health insurance—are in decline while the amount of income needed for a comfortable retirement continues to rise.

In Working Longer, Alicia Munnell

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Overview

Daily headlines warn American workers that their retirement years may be far from golden. The main components of the retirement income system—Social Security and employer-provided pensions and health insurance—are in decline while the amount of income needed for a comfortable retirement continues to rise.

In Working Longer, Alicia Munnell and Steven Sass suggest a simple solution to this problem: postponing retirement by two to four years. By following their advice, the average worker retiring in 2030 can be as well off as today's retirees. Implementing this solution on a national scale, however, may not be simple.

Working Longer investigates the prospects for moving the average retirement age from 63, the current figure, to 66. Munnell and Sass ask whether future generations will be healthy enough to work beyond the current retirement age and whether older men and women want to work. They examine companies' incentives to employ older works and ask what government can do to promote continued participation in the workforce. Finally, they consider the challenge of ensuring a secure retirement for low-wage workers and those who are unable to continue to work.

The retirement system faces very real challenges. But together, workers, employers, and the government can keep this vital piece of the American dream alive.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The books provides a concise summary of a wealth of evidence about retirement decisions and a handy guide for middle-aged Americans on how to stay well-off when they hang up their shoes." — The Economist

"A well-researched, thoughtful explanation of a critical national issue and a well-reasoned proposal to cope with this challenge. Highly recommended." — CHOICE

" Working Longer tackles the issues of surviving one's so-called golden years." —Harry Hurt III, New York Times

" Working Longer offers a prescription that readers may find a bitter pill: keep working.... [The authors] have studded their brief, well-organized book with tables, charts, and graphs." — Wall Street Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815701453
Publisher:
Brookings Institution Press
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
207
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"This book is a badly needed wake-up call. With lifetime pension plans dwindling and employer health benefits to retirees shrinking drastically, Americans--especially the Boomer generation--need to face the reality that Munnell and Sass describe: longer lives, higher costs, and inadequate savings in their 401k plans and elsewhere. This means that average Americans are going to have to work longer or face poverty in their so-called golden years." —Hedrick Smith, correspondent, PBS Frontline: "Can You Afford to Retire?"

"The United States has a retirement income problem. This remarkable book examines one potential solution to the problem: increased work by older Americans. Munnell and Sass provide thoughtful answers to the key questions. This is a lucid, thorough, and thought-provoking contribution to a very important debate." —Robert Hutchens, Cornell University

"We have made remarkable progress in improving health and longevity. Now we need to figure out how to finance the substantially longer retirements these gains have produced. In Working Longer, Munnell and Sass make a strong case for moving the average age at retirement from 62 to 65 or 66& #151;and thereby safeguarding the future of most retirees. Anyone who is interested in preparing our country for a better retirement future should read this elegant essay." —John H. Biggs, former chairman and CEO, TIAA-CREF

"The retirement landscape is different from the one you might have imagined just a few years ago. The good news is that you're living longer. The bad news is that health care will cost more, pensions are shrinking, and your investments might not have grown as fast as you'd hoped. Munnell and Sass show you how& #151;by working a little longer& #151;you can overcome these challenges and live the retirement you'd planned." —Jane Bryant Quinn, financial columnist and author of Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People

"As Americans live longer and healthier lives, many seniors will need to generate additional income to remain financially secure. The skills, experience, and expertise of these seasoned workers can only stand to benefit our economy. This book is a timely and comprehensive look at the challenges and opportunities of recruiting and retaining older workers." —U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging

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Meet the Author

Alicia H. Munnell is the Peter F. Drucker Professor of Management Sciences, Carroll School of Management, and director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. She has served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy (1993—1995) and as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (1995—97). She was also cofounder and first president of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Munnell has written or edited numerous books, including Coming up Short: The Challenge of 401(k) Plans, with Annika Sundén (Brookings, 2004).

Steven A. Sass is associate director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. He was previously an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and taught at Rutgers and Brandeis. His books include The Promise of Private Pensions: The First Hundred Years (Harvard, 1997), Social Security and the Stock Market: How the Pursuit of Market Magic Shapes the System, with Alicia H. Munnell (Upjohn Institute, 2006), and The Social Security Fix-It Book, with Alicia H. Munnell and Andrew Eschtruth (Center for Retirement Research, 2007).

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