retirement - The New School SCEPA

Working Paper | This essay surveys global pension developments and intellectual basis for pension reform in the last 40 years.

Policy Note | America’s eldercare system relies on families to provide care to aging adults, leaving those without family or wealth particularly vulnerable to having their care needs go unmet. 8.3 million people, or 42 percent of adults who have difficulty with tasks like getting dressed, using the toilet, or preparing meals did not receive any help in 2020 (the latest data available). Older adults who do not get the care they need face higher negative health outcomes and disability levels. Expanding Community Medicaid would help all older Americans receive the care they need in old age.

Policy Note | In the United States, high overall rates of home ownership among households aged 55–64 obscure a vital reality. Many low-income older households risk financial fragility because they are renters and high rent burdens inhibit their ability to save for emergencies. Even middle- and high-income households who own their own homes risk housing-related financial fragility due to high mortgage debt. Overall rates of financial fragility, which include non-housing debt and emergency savings, remain high for all older households regardless of income. Our policy recommendations focus on supporting higher wages, solidifying emergency savings, and reforming the retirement system to reduce financial fragility at older ages. 

Policy Note | Unpaid care work — the vast majority of such work in the United States — is primarily shouldered by economically vulnerable people. The costs associated with unpaid care work compound existing economic insecurity, leading to higher rates of poverty in old age. It is essential to support informal caregivers by recognizing caregiving as work and expanding their access to social safety net programs and providing paid family care leave. 

Policy Note | Social Security is the most essential and well-functioning part of the U.S. retirement system. Any reforms to federal retirement policy—while necessary and long overdue—must be built on the foundation of a protected and strengthened Social Security system. More than 60 percent of adults 65 and older receive most of their income from Social Security and all recipients benefit from the annuitized income the system provides. Despite calls to cut benefits and misleading claims about its finances, Social Security should be bolstered and expanded.

 The Older Workers and Retirement Chartbook from the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis and the Economic Policy Institute shows the risks to retirement security and disparities in retirement preparedness. 

Research Note— SCEPA's research finds that a significant part of the retirement boom consists of those we would otherwise expect to be working, given their employment a year earlier.

Working Paper—This paper explores how Covid-19 affected the employment and retirement patterns of older workers, with special attention to the distribution of pandemic impacts on those 55 and older.

Working Paper—Since the early 1990s, disparities in Social Security claim ages has grown, with high earners increasingly likely to delay claiming. A SCEPA working paper explores the returns and effects of claiming Social Security earlier versus delaying claiming these benefits.

Brief— Working longer is often proposed as the solution to the retirement crisis caused by older workers’ lack of retirement assets, but new research from SCEPA's ReLab shows this assumption doesn't match older workers' real experiences in the labor market.

Brief— Working longer is often proposed as the solution to the retirement crisis caused by older workers’ lack of retirement assets, but new research from SCEPA's ReLab shows this assumption doesn't match older workers' real experiences in the labor market.

Research note— New research shows that even before the COVID-19 recession, only 36% of workers ages 25-64 were participating in a retirement plan at work, a five percentage point decrease from five years prior.

Working paper— Contrary to the predictions of theoretical models, working longer does not significantly increase the share of older workers who are financially prepared for retirement. 

Brief— ReLab's chartbook documenting retirement insecurity and the decline in older workers' bargaining power is a resource for workers, employers, media, policymakers, scholars, and the broader public to answer questions about the state of older working America and retirement income security.

Policy makers need to strengthen older workers’ fallback positions.

A realistic look at the disempowered status of America’s older workers and their rocky path to a secure retirement.

Brief— Workers at all earnings levels would benefit from expanding Social Security. SCEPA proposes defaulting workers into “Catch-Up” contributions, where— starting at age 50— they would contribute an additional 3.1% of their salary. 

Working paper— Workers at all earnings levels would benefit from expanding Social Security. SCEPA proposes defaulting workers into “Catch-Up” contributions, where— starting at age 50— they would contribute an additional 3.1% of their salary. The increase in alternative work arrangements among older workers is due to low wages stemming from older workers' decreased bargaining power.