Pensions and Retiree Health Benefits in Household Wealth: Changes from 1969 to 1992
By 1992, pensions and retiree health insurance represented one quarter of the wealth of families on the verge of retirement. Between 1969 and 1992, abstracting from the effects of changes in wages and years of covered work on pension benefit amounts, changes in pension coverage and plan provisions raised total wealth by $67,000. This raised wealth from employer provided pension benefits per family by 150 percent in real terms. Changes in retiree health benefits, which have only about 7 percent of the value of pensions, experienced similar real growth, increasing in value by $3,700. Most of the increases in pension values and the value of retiree health insurance plans was due to improvements in real benefits for covered workers. All classes of wealth holders enjoyed increased wealth from employer-provided retirement plans, but those in the top half of the wealth distribution enjoyed increases that were much larger in absolute terms and larger in relation to the holders' total wealth.
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