‘Til death do us part. . .
from David Ruccio
Americans already work longer than in most countries. Now, it looks increasingly likely they won’t be able to retire. That means they’ll have to continue working until they die.
U.S. workers already have a higher retirement age than most of the rest of the developed world.
And that’s before advocates of the New Austerity try to raise the official retirement age to 70.
They—and their friends in the IMF—also want to cut social security benefits, which will force workers to rely even more than before on their savings and private retirement plans.
The problem is, a significant number of U.S. workers—Early Baby Boomers, Late Boomers, and Gen Xers, alike—are likely to struggle to meet basic expenses after they try to retire. Over 40 percent of people with the lowest incomes face prospects of depleted savings within 10 years after retirement, with that number climbing toward 60 percent after another decade, according to the Washington-based Employee Benefit Research Institute.
The best they can come up with at the EBRI is advice to the effect that workers should increase their savings now in order to make up for the projected shortfall later on. But stagnant wages, falling home equity, and the switch to defined-contribution (instead of defined-benefit) plans are making that impossible for all but those at the very top of the distribution of income.
Unless there’s a radical change in the way we think about and finance retirement, many Americans are simply going to have to work until they die.