Chapter

The Changing Landscape of Pensions in the United States

Edited by James M. Poterba, Steven F. Venti and David A. Wise

in Overcoming the Saving Slump

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780226497099
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226497105 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226497105.003.0002
The Changing Landscape of Pensions in the United States

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This chapter reviews the economic changes that are occurring in the pension landscape in the United States. The total value of assets in retirement accounts has increased since 1980. The proportion of employees covered by at least one pension plan has remained about the same over the past twenty-five years, but the proportion covered by more than one has increased. The investment options available to 401(k) participants are evolving rapidly. The projections suggest that the spread of 401(k) assets will lead in a substantial increase in the retirement assets of households with the lowest Social Security wealth and will result in a doubling or tripling of retirement assets for households in the rest of the Social Security wealth distribution. It can be concluded that the advent of personal account saving is projected to yield very large increases in the financial assets of future retirees across the lifetime earnings spectrum.

Keywords: pension landscape; United States; retirement assets; employees; pension plan; Social Security; earnings; financial assets; personal account saving

Chapter.  7832 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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