Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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This chapter assesses Baby Boom retirement prospects by comparing the outlook for this cohort with experiences of previous generations. We simulate the impact of aging using the Social Security’s Model of Income in the Near Term and project retirement incomes for a representative group of individuals born between 1926 and 1965. We conclude that Baby Boomers can expect to have higher real incomes in retirement than current retirees and lower poverty rates. Yet the gains in family income are not equally distributed, so, for instance, never-married Boomer women will be relatively better off, and high school Boomer dropouts will be relatively worse off than current retirees. And when we compare Boomer retirement incomes to their own pre-retirement living standards, we find that post-retirement incomes are not predicted to rise as much as pre-retirement incomes. In addition, certain population subgroups will remain economically vulnerable, including divorced women, never-married men, Hispanics, high school dropouts, those with weak labor force attachments, and those with the lowest lifetime earnings.


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.


The research reported herein was supported by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College pursuant to a grant from the United States Social Security Administration funded as part of the Retirement Research Consortium. The opinions and conclusions are solely those of the authors and should not be construed as representing the opinions or policy of the Social Security Administration or any agency of the Federal Government, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, or the Urban Institute, its board, or its funders. The authors are grateful to Rich Johnson and Sheila Zedlewski for valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper.

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Date Posted: 28 August 2019