Rethinking Retirement

June 19, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 23
Can Americans afford to retire?
By Thomas J. Billitteri

Introduction

Irene Massey Getty Images/David Paul Morris
Eighty-three-year-old Irene Massey — the nation's oldest mail carrier — celebrates her retirement in Concord, Calif., in 2005. The ongoing economic crisis is forcing even those who have saved for retirement to continue working to recoup their losses. Getty Images/David Paul Morris

Prospects for a secure retirement are more imperiled now than at any time since before the creation of the Social Security program in 1935. Low savings rates and credit abuse have contributed to the problem, but the recent economic crisis, which has led to massive layoffs and a collapse of the stock market, is forcing even those who have prepared and saved to rethink their retirement strategies. The entire retirement structure, including the shift away from traditional guaranteed pension plans toward 401(k) accounts, is under scrutiny, and Congress has called for greater transparency in the way such accounts are administered. Meanwhile, retirement experts are counseling workers to stay on the job longer to ensure their retirement security, and some economists are calling for reductions in Social Security benefits to shore up the entitlement system and accommodate the impending wave of retirements among the post-World War II baby-boom generation.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Apr. 08, 2016  Future of the Middle Class
Apr. 18, 2014  Wealth and Inequality
Jan. 24, 2014  Minimum Wage
Jun. 19, 2009  Rethinking Retirement
Mar. 06, 2009  Middle-Class Squeeze
Mar. 14, 2008  Gender Pay Gap
Dec. 16, 2005  Minimum Wage
Sep. 27, 2002  Living-Wage Movement
Apr. 17, 1998  Income Inequality
Oct. 27, 1978  Wage-Price Controls
Jun. 16, 1978  Military Pay and Benefits
Mar. 23, 1966  Rising Cost of Living
Oct. 25, 1961  Price-Wage Restraints in National Emergencies
Jun. 21, 1961  Wage Policy in Recovery
Jun. 11, 1958  Prices and Wages in the Recession
Sep. 18, 1957  Control of Living Costs
Nov. 02, 1955  Wages, Prices, Profits
Jan. 26, 1954  Minimum Wage Raise
Jan. 02, 1954  Cost of Living
Jan. 21, 1953  Guaranteed Annual Wage
Dec. 17, 1952  Future of Price and Wage Controls
Nov. 19, 1951  Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization
Dec. 06, 1950  Wage Control
Jun. 13, 1949  Wages in Deflation
Jun. 04, 1947  Guarantees of Wages and Employment
Oct. 29, 1946  Decontrol of Wages
Dec. 01, 1945  Minimum Wages
Sep. 29, 1945  Wage Policy
Oct. 27, 1944  Wage Security
May 17, 1943  Incentive Wage Payments
Aug. 25, 1941  Prices, Profits, and Wage Control
Apr. 28, 1941  Wartime Changes in the Cost of Living
Sep. 21, 1940  Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law
Nov. 01, 1938  Industry and Labor Under the Wage-Hour Act
Jan. 20, 1938  Wage Rates and Workers' Incomes
Apr. 11, 1935  The Cost of Living in the United States
Sep. 01, 1930  Wages and the Cost of Living
May 24, 1930  The Anthracite Wage Agreement
Feb. 20, 1925  Measure of Recovery in Profits and Wages Since 1920–21 Depression
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Economic Crises
Employee Benefits
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security
Social Security
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