The Peak 65 Generation: Creating a New Retirement Security Framework
By Jason Fichtner
With the U.S. experiencing the greatest retirement surge in its history, the country’s public and private sector retirement systems have become obsolete. The old metaphor of the three-legged stool of retirement planning — employer pensions, personal savings and Social Security — no longer holds. Fewer private-sector employers offer a traditional defined-pension retirement plan providing protected income that is guaranteed throughout retirement, meaning more Americans enter retirement with Social Security as their only means of protected income, leaving many exposed to financial insecurity. A steady low-interest rate environment is making it impossible for retirees to generate risk-free new income from their retirement savings that even keeps pace with inflation. This leaves equities and bonds as the only option for meaningful income generation on savings and creating higher levels of ongoing risk for retirement income management. Gone are the days when risk-free certificates of deposit and money market funds could deliver reliable, protected income that outpaced inflation. A large percentage of people are claiming Social Security benefits early and missing out on the full benefits they could receive if they delayed claiming for just a few more years, depriving them of a much more robust, fully-protected income stream throughout their retirement.
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About the Author
Jason J. Fichtner is Chief Economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center and Senior Fellow at the Retirement Income Institute.