Summary of The Evolution of Retirement Wealth

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The Evolution of Retirement Wealth summary
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Federal Reserve economists Sebastian Devlin-Foltz, Alice M. Henriques and John Sabelhaus show how the Great Recession continues to encroach on Americans’ ability to save for retirement. The shift from guaranteed pensions to contributory plans places the burden of saving for retirement on employees. But data suggest that many workers, particularly the young and less well-off, will be unable to accumulate sufficient nest eggs to see them through their golden years. getAbstract recommends this eye-opening report to anyone who hopes to one day retire.

About the Authors

Alice M. Henriques and John Sabelhaus are economists for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, where Sebastian Devlin-Foltz is a research assistant.



Though employer-sponsored savings plans in the United States offer Americans a vital path toward “retirement preparedness,” such programs may be inadequate for most families. Since the 1980s, firms have scrapped defined benefit (DB) plans in favor of defined contribution (DC) plans, putting the onus for amassing retirement wealth on employees. Analysis of data from 1989 to 2013 reveals three conclusions: First, “overall retirement plan participation…fell noticeably in the wake of the Great Recession and has remained lower.” Before 2007, workers of all ages saved for retirement, and young people saved...

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