Focus on Social Security and Retirement

Focus on Social Security and Retirement

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On December 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published preliminary data on deaths in 2008 on death in 2008, including figures on demographics and causes.

On December 9, Wells Fargo published a report on Americans’ preparations for retirement. It finds that almost three-fourths anticipate working throughout their retirement years. For about half it is because of economic necessity, while half say it is because they want to. The report also finds that people underestimate the amount of retirement savings they will need and are grossly short of having enough to maintain their standard of living.

A December 3 Rasmussen poll found that people would rather raise payroll taxes on the wealthy than raise the retirement age for Social Security.

On December 1, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago published a study of the impact of lower asset prices on employment. It finds that the labor force participation rate for those nearing retirement is 2.9 percent higher (0.7 percent overall) as a consequence, because people are working longer to rebuild retirement savings.

On November 30, the Employee Benefit Research Institute published a report estimating the amount of money Medicare beneficiaries will need to cover medical expenses not covered by Medicare. It finds that the median male will need at least $65,000 and the median female will need $93,000 (due to longer longevity) at retirement to cover those costs. However, to be certain that they will have enough savings to cover out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Medicare, they really need several times more saving.

Also on November 30, the Associated Press and CNBC released a poll that found strong opposition to raising the normal retirement age even if it doesn’t take effect until 65 years from now.

On November 29, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report on the availability and worker participation in 401(k) retirement plans. It finds much wider use of such plans in private industry than government.

On November 24, the Institute for the Study of Labor published a working paper on the 1983 increase in the full retirement age for Social Security from 65 to 67, which is being phased-in now. It finds that how the issue is framed has a big effect on how people respond.

On November 23, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College published a study showing that parents tend to increase spending on themselves by 50 percent once their children leave home, thus jeopardizing their ability to save adequately for retirement.

I last posted items on this topic on November 25.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily  and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here . Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.