Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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Assessing savings sufficiency requires detailed information on both potential retirement benefits and the characteristics of a national sample of older citizens. This chapter uses the Health and Retirement Survey and the New Beneficiary Survey linked to administrative records to assess and compare the saving adequacy of two different cohorts. Specifically we compare the two groups in terms of their annuitized net wealth (ANW) and ANW relative to the poverty line, as well as the near-poverty line. We find that the mean wealth levels of both new retiree cohorts rose over time (by about two-thirds for wealth and by half for ANW), but the chance of meeting social adequacy targets has also risen. This shortfall we believe is concentrated increasingly among nonmarried persons, and those with low human capital and labor force attachment. In other words, vulnerability during the working life appears to persist into retirement.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2007 publication: Redefining Retirement: How Will Boomers Fare?.

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Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the authors and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2006 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.


This research was supported by grants from the U. S. Social Security Administration; funding was also received from the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Graduate School and the Center for Demography and Ecology, all at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Conclusions are those of the authors and not those of the funding agencies. All authors contributed equally to the paper.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 28 August 2019