Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



We examine respondents in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to observe how their financial situations unfolded as they aged. We focus on low-income older adults and follow them over time to identify the factors associated with having low income at baseline and thereafter. We find that (a) real income remained relatively stable as individuals approached and entered retirement, and progressed through their retirement years, and (b) labor force participation declined and thus earnings became less important with age, while Social Security and retirement savings rose as a proportion of annual income.


Financial literacy, financial resilience, aging, vulnerable groups

JEL Code

G53, D14, I38

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

Any opinions and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the authors and do not represent the opinions or policy any institutions with which the authors are affiliated. ©2021 Mitchell, Clark, and Lusardi. All rights reserved.


This research was performed pursuant to a grant from the Institute of Consumer Money Management; the authors also acknowledge support from the Pension Research Council/Boettner Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The authors particularly thank Yong Yu for careful and invaluable help with the project. This project is part of the NBER Household Finance and Aging programs.

Included in

Economics Commons



Date Posted: 22 April 2021