Americans Waiting Longer to Retire

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute released Wednesday shows that more Americans are waiting longer to retire because they are not financially secure.

Almost 24 percent of workers polled said that they delayed their retirement in the last year. David John is the co-director of the retirement securities project at the Brookings Institution, and a senior fellow at Heritage; he explains the different reasons why many workers are having to stay employed longer and how the trend affects the broader population. And Mike Munger, the chair of political science and professor of political economics at Duke University, gives advice for all of us on how to prepare for a comfortable retirement.

Guests:

David C. John and Mike Munger

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

David J Fazekas

Comments [8]

Sandy

Um, people...If any of you is paying into a pension plan, that payment is part of the $1000 a month the good professor is talking about. Also, I think he's assuming that you won't see any social security benefits by the time you hit retirement. If you think the system will still be paying people like you when it's your turn to become a beneficiary, then you can adjust your personal savings downward by the ratio of the projected SS benefits to your income.

Mar. 10 2010 05:27 PM
Brandon from OKC

A THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH SAVINGS INTO RETIREMENT on a 50K salary????? That guy is freakin clueless!!!

Take a mortage, car insurance, health insurance, and maybe a car payment... There is barely enough left to eat and provide. I would like to see the math in his "budget"

Mar. 10 2010 10:45 AM
Brandon from OKC

A THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH SAVINGS INTO RETIREMENT on a 50K salary????? That guy is freakin clueless!!!

Take a mortage, car insurance, health insurance, and maybe a car payment... There is barely enough left to eat and provide. I would like to see the math in his "budget"

Mar. 10 2010 10:44 AM
heilene

So Professor Munger, the only jobs worth considering are the ones with matching 401K plans? A lot of small businesses and nonprofits cannot afford to offer that. This is not to diminish your overall point--we DO need to take a larger responsibility in saving and providing for our future--but I think your overall tone was a bit unrealistic, and not at all in touch with the realities of a lot of working people.

Mar. 10 2010 08:44 AM
Mike Munger from Duke University, Durham, NC

Now, Ms. Katuska, what I said was that people need to pick out jobs, and compensation packages, that have a 401k with a match (listen again). People don't focus enough on retirement benefits. If you have a 60-40 match with your employer, and you take your retirement savings out BEFORE taxes, then you would only be giving up about $300 per month to save $1,000 per month.

But we don't ask employers for retirement benefits. Instead, we all look for health care benefits, and the huge costs of those are preventing you from saving for retirement. The point is that we have to solve the problems with health care before anyone can expect to save for retirement.

But there was not time to get into all that. We only had six minutes and 30 seconds, for the entire segment....

Mar. 10 2010 07:27 AM
Mike Munger from Duke University, Durham, NC

Now, Ms. Katuska, what I said was that people need to pick out jobs, and compensation packages, that have a 401k with a match (listen again). People don't focus enough on retirement benefits. If you have a 60-40 match with your employer, and you take your retirement savings out BEFORE taxes, then you would only be giving up about $300 per month to save $1,000 per month.

But we don't ask employers for retirement benefits. Instead, we all look for health care benefits, and the huge costs of those are preventing you from saving for retirement. The point is that we have to solve the problems with health care before anyone can expect to save for retirement.

But there was not time to get into all that. We only had six minutes and 30 seconds, for the entire segment....

Mar. 10 2010 07:26 AM
zeco from Germany

my 2 cents from across the pond:

I felt speechless for a while after hearing this segment. How is this acceptable for a civilized 1st world country?

To me this looks like a direct consequence of deregulation policies, not only in the banking sector but also concerning retirement options. Now your whole country is facing misery that ripples through all generations (families who have to support their elderly, people who can't enter a more and more aging job market, etc etc).

I know public radio has to be balanced but how about you start pointing out who drove you into this mess?
Nothing will ever change if the public doesn't recognize the causes for the way retirements were gambled with. This is a direct consequence of misguided and greed driven beliefs in the "magic of the marketplace", which Republicans enacted by cutting every safety measure for decades and enabling all kinds of schemers to rob the citizens silly, like Enron in California.

So even though nothing can aleviate the mess which many Americans are facing right now, my advice:

Stop. Worshipping. Reagan.

Otherwise best of luck with those lottery tickets...

Mar. 10 2010 07:20 AM
Teresa Katuska

Your guest, Duke economics professor Mike Munger, stated that "there's nothing difficult" about saving for retirement...all you have to do is put $1000 in the bank every month. I am a high school math teacher earning around the $50,000 figure on which he based his numbers. After deductions for health insurance and taxes, my take home pay is about $2600 per month. Does he really think there's $1000 in my bare bones monthly budget that's available for retirement savings? He's obviously pretty far removed from the world of the $50,000 salary when he can make glib statements about how easy it is to save for retirement.

Mar. 10 2010 07:01 AM

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