The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Economic Policy Project has released a new staff paper that highlights the risks that Americans face as they head into retirement. This paper is the first of several highlighting issues that the Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings will address.
A Diversity of Risks: The Challenge of Retirement Preparedness in America explains the complexity of the U.S. retirement system through the eyes of four illustrative households. We know that many Americans are anxious about their retirement prospects. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that not having enough money for retirement is the number one financial worry among Americans.
Managing retirement savings is difficult: there are numerous and varied sources of potential income to balance and a range of risks to consider. This multifaceted challenge affects retirees differently depending upon which sources of income they have, how much they have, and what life events occur that could possibly strain their savings. Even for retirees who appear well-prepared, certain risks, if unmanaged, have the potential to jeopardize retirement security.
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As the paper makes clear, there is considerable variation in retirement preparedness, so describing the retirement landscape for the “average American” is challenging. The system is more complicated and diverse than many realize, and almost everyone faces challenges in achieving a financially secure retirement.
This paper is intended to inform policymakers, the media, and the public about the complex system that Americans confront today, and lay the groundwork for the commission’s release next year of policy recommendations to improve retirement security.