Several factors—a drop in the number of employers that offer a workplace retirement plan, the shift away from defined benefit (DB) plans and overall inadequate savings rates by workers—form a dire view of retirement for many workers, according to Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at The New School and co-author of a new report.
“Are U.S. Workers Ready for Retirement? Trends in Plan Sponsorship, Participation, and Preparedness,” co-authored by Ghilarducci, Joelle Saad-Lessler and Kate Bahn, takes a deep dive into retirement statistics since 1999.
The overview examines statistics on the number of employers sponsoring retirement plans for their workers between 1999 and 2011 and the declines in retirement plan coverage for those workers covered by a union contract. The paper suggests some reasons for the lack of retirement preparedness so many households face, using 2000 and 2012 data from the Current Population Survey, a joint program administered by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistic.
The report findings predict a greater number of workers will experience dramatic drops in their standard of living as they age and attempts to envision what retirement will look like in 10 or 20 years if trends reverse themselves, by plotting retirement sponsorship and participation rates for the country from 1980 through 2012.
Among the findings:
- Between 1999 and 2011, availability of workplace-sponsored plans slipped, from 61% to 53%.
- In 2011, 68% of the working age population (25 to 64) did not participate in an employer-sponsored plan.
- 55% of households with a head of household nearing retirement (55 to 64) will have to subsist almost entirely on Social Security or will not be able to retire because of inadequate savings.
“Are U.S. Workers Ready for Retirement? Trends in Plan Sponsorship, Participation, and Preparedness” can be accessed here.