RetireSecure Blog

The Pension Research Council’s curated blog features insights from the industry’s leading professionals. Views of our Guest Bloggers are theirs alone, and not of the Pension Research Council, the Wharton School, or the University of Pennsylvania.

The Short Life and Untimely Death of the MyRA

A plan to fill the gaps in American’s pension system was kiboshed fewer than 18 months after launch. “The Short Life and Untimely Death of the MyRA” by Mark Iwry explains the proposal, its abrupt end, and where things might go next.Read More

Perspectives on Social Security Projections

Social Security Projections evaluated by Diane Lim, Sophie Shin, and Kent Smetters. This study explores effects of key factors on potential reforms, using the Penn Wharton Budget Model.Read More

Negative Interest Rates: Could It Happen Here?

In the summer of 2007, markets roiled as what would become a global financial crisis first started to manifest itself in U.S. capital markets. It was a time when risk models, designed for calmer times, could not capture the sheer magnitude of what lay ahead…Read More

Findings from the 2019 Social Security Advisory Board

Ron Gebhardtsbauer recently served on the 2019 Technical Panel for the Social Security Advisory Board, whose mission is to review the assumptions, methods, and presentation of material in the Social Security Trustees Report. Their Report represents the collected views of ten panelists…Read More

Retirement Savings as a Political Cudgel in the Debate over FTTs

A financial transaction tax (FTT) is exactly what it sounds like: a tax imposed on the exchange of all or certain types of financial instruments. A well-known example of such a tax is the British stamp tax—a modern version of the tax that contributed to the American independence movement. Recently, several prominent presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris, have called for such a tax…Read More

Planning for Long-term Care Needs: Start Now

Few Americans do much to protect themselves against the cost of long term care (LTC) in later life.  In fact, between half and three-quarters of Americans are anticipated to need LTC at some point, yet only about 8 percent of the US population has LTC insurance. Instead, many people simply hope to deal with long-term care and other health risks when they happen. This is not a sensible way to deal with one of life’s major shocks, particularly when one could spend several years in such an institution at an annual cost of over $90,000.Read More

Do People’s Longevity Expectations Shape Their Key Financial Decisions?

We have recently explored this question focusing on smokers, since smoking is widely confirmed to reduce human life spans. Our research reveals a stunning gap between objective life expectancy and how smokers think about their own life spans. To examine this point, we asked 963 in a representative sample in Israel whether they thought they would live as long as, less than, or longer than an average person.Read More

Will Multiple Employer Plans Solve the Pension Coverage Gap?

Retirement legislation is one of the few areas where there currently appears to be bipartisan consensus in the US Congress. The SECURE Act, a comprehensive package covering numerous aspects of retirement saving, recently passed the House by a vote of 417-3 and it is expected to pass the Senate this year. One of the bill’s key provisions is to allow the creation of “open” Multiple Employer Plans (MEPs).Read More

Generational Differences and Debt

Older Americans are carrying growing levels of debt into retirement. This topic was the main focus of the 2019 Pension Research Council symposium, and debt was also studied in a recent Society of Actuaries (SOA) study entitled “Financial Perspectives on Aging and Retirement Across the Generations.” Both efforts provide important insights into what people say about financial priorities and debt across generations, and both confirm that debt is important in retirement planning. Read More

Captain Your Own Ship: Retirement Security Options for the Self-Employed

More Americans are becoming self-employed as a result of growing entrepreneurial interests, a desire to enhance income, phased retirement, and tax advantages. Retirement security is crucially important for the self-employed.Read More

Social Security: Don’t Stop The Music

Back in 2016, several of the main presidential candidates talked about raising Social Security benefits. But few dared talk about realistic suggestions about how to close the system’s existing shortfall, much less how to raise money to cover new benefits.Read More

The Long and the Short of It: Financial Fragility in America

While Americans’ long-term financial security is essential, a target deserving of equal – if not more – attention has been overlooked, namely short-term financial security. A large number of U.S. households are financially fragile today, and their well-being as well as that of the entire economy rests on households’ capacity to deal with shocks.Read More