Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



This paper describes the challenges and opportunities that older Americans face, with a focus on retirement income security and the role of continued work later in life. We begin with an overview of the new world of retirement income security in America, including a discussion of how a low return environment (e.g., low interest rates) exacerbates existing retirement income security challenges. We then document how older Americans have responded to the evolving retirement income landscape, especially when and how they exit the labor force, and we explore how continued work later in life can help mitigate some of the anticipated retirement security challenges. We then pose some important outstanding questions. The implications of societal aging depend in large part on how we harness or squander the labor resources of older Americans.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2018 publication: How Persistent Low Returns Will Shape Saving and Retirement.


Retirement Income Security, Economics of Aging, Gradual Retirement, Work and Retirement

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2017 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

Included in

Economics Commons



Date Posted: 13 February 2019