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How Do Lower-Income Families Think about Retirement?

  • Helen Levy

    (University of Michigan)

  • Kristin Seefeldt

    (University of Michigan)

How do low-income households think about retirement? Do they think about retirement? If so, when do they think they will retire, and what is it they plan to live on? In this paper, we present evidence on these questions based on 51 qualitative interviews with low-income families in the Detroit area. We find that the great majority of low-income households think about retirement, although this does not necessarily mean they are able to plan and/or save actively for retirement. Most respondents plan to retire as soon as they become eligible for Social Security or, in a few cases, private pensions.

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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp195.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp195
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  1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski & Jordan Heinz, 2003. ""Will Social Security Be There For You?": How Americans Perceive Their Benefits," NBER Working Papers 9798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1989. "The Timing of Retirement: A Comparison of Expectations and Realizations," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Aging, pages 335-358 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2007. "Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 81-104, Summer.
  4. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2006. "Measuring Pension-benefit Expectations Probabilistically," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 20(2), pages 201-236, 06.
  5. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Debra S. Dwyer & Wayne-Roy Gayle & Thomas J. Muench, 2003. "Expectations in Micro Data: Rationality Revisited," Working Papers wp059, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  6. Nicole Maestas, 2004. "Back to Work: Expectations and Realizations of Work After Retirement," Working Papers wp085, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  7. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  8. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Debra S. Dwyer, 2005. "The Rationality of Retirement Expectations and the Role of New Information," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 587-592, August.
  9. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Steve Stillman, 2006. "The Retirement Expectations of Middle-Aged Individuals," CEPR Discussion Papers 540, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  10. Kathleen McGarry, 2004. "Health and Retirement: Do Changes in Health Affect Retirement Expectations?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
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