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Working for a Good Retirement

  • Barbara A. Butrica
  • Karen E. Smith
  • C. Eugene Steuerle

The choice of retirement age is the most important portfolio choice most workers will make. Drawing on the Urban Institute's Dynamic Simulation of Income model (DYNASIM3), this report examines how delaying retirement for nondisabled workers would affect individual retiree benefits, the solvency of the Social Security trust fund, and general revenues. The results suggest that delaying retirement by itself does not generate enough additional revenue to make Social Security solvent by 2045. Benefit cuts or supplementary funding sources will be necessary to achieve solvency. However, the size of the benefit cuts or tax increases could be minimized if individuals worked longer. This additional work also substantially increases worker's retirement well-being. Lower-income workers, to the extent they can work longer, have the most to gain from their additional labor. Policy changes that encourage work at older ages will substantially improve both economic and personal well-being in the future.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_463.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_463
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  1. James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions, The Option Value of Work, and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 2686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Richard W. Johnson & Amy J. Davidoff & Kevin Perese, 2003. "Health insurance costs and early retirement decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 716-729, July.
  3. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Alexi Sluchynsky, 2002. "Does It Pay to Work?," NBER Working Papers 9096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 207-236, November.
  5. Calvo, Esteban, 2006. "Does Working Longer Make People Healthier and Happier?," MPRA Paper 5606, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Richard W. Johnson & Amy J. Davidoff & Kevin Perese, 2003. "Health Insurance Costs and Early Retirement Decisions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 716-729, July.
  7. Barbara A. Butrica & Richard W. Johnson & Karen Elizabeth Smith & C. Eugene Steuerle, 2004. "Does Work Pay at Older Ages?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2004-30, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2004.
  8. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "The Effect of Social Security on Retirement in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 691-730 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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