Alicia Munnell


Retirement, 20 years from now

A national organization recently asked me to write a brief piece on the future of retirement.  Here’s how I responded. I know what retirement will–or at least should–look like 20 years from now. I’m just not sure how we will get from here to there. Unfortunately, my best guess is that we will have to […]

Shift Retirement Plans Away from Employers

Lots of proposals have been put forth for a new and better retirement system, but they don’t answer the question of how we get from here to there. (For examples of proposals, see the SAFE plan or the Guaranteed Retirement Accounts proposal.) We have a fairly extensive – albeit far from perfect – 401(k) system […]

Is 70 the “Right” Retirement Age?

I keep thinking about this notion that 70 is the “real” Social Security retirement age.  It is the age at which people get maximum monthly benefits, and if they work beyond this age they see their lifetime benefits decline.  But is 70 the right age?  “Right” can mean a number of things.  One issue is […]

Social Security: Don’t ‘scrap the cap’

By I fancy that I stay abreast of what’s happening in the Social Security policy arena, so I was taken aback during a trip to Washington, D.C. to learn that a whole movement has developed to eliminate the bulk of Social Security’s 75-year deficit by scrapping the cap – that is, eliminating the earnings cap […]

How can we fix long-term care insurance?

This post extends the discussion of long-term care insurance recently initiated by Kenneth  Deitch. The prospective costs for long-term care are a big problem.  First, nursing home care is really expensive for those who end up needing it.  Second, the prospect of such an expense is likely to prevent people from making the best use […]

More are retiring with mortgages and credit card debt

Alicia H. Munnell  With a contracting retirement income system, rapidly rising health-care costs, and the prospect of long-term care expenses, one would have thought that people approaching retirement would be paying off their credit card debt and closing out their mortgages.  But surveys suggest that people are entering retirement with more debt than ever before […]

Public pensions need to evolve

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan recently released a new documentary on the sustainability of pension plans titled “Pension Plan (ev e looSHen).”  It presents interviews with practitioners and experts from Canada, the United States, and The Netherlands.  The tone and conclusions of the film really resonated with me. The theme of the documentary is that […]

Do Boomers Threaten Young Workers’ Jobs?

As life expectancy increases and the retirement income system contracts, households face an enormous challenge in ensuring a secure retirement. Working longer is the best way to increase retirement incomes. But some suggest that more work by older persons reduces the job opportunities for younger persons.