Stark Inequality: Financial Asset Inequality Undermines Retirement Security

Link to full report: https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Stark-Inequality-F2.pdf

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Inequality in the ownership of financial assets both persists and deepens over time. The top five percent of Baby Boomers by net worth owned a greater percentage of that generation’s financial assets in 2019 (58 percent) than in 2004 (52 percent).

Inequality in the ownership of financial assets is consistent across generations. In 2019, the top 25 percent by net worth of Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers owned three-quarters or more of their generation’s financial assets.

Financial asset ownership is highly concentrated among white households. In 2019, white households in all three generations owned three-quarters or more of their generation’s financial assets. Ownership is especially concentrated among white households in the top 25 percent of net worth.

Both mean and median financial assets were significantly higher for white households in 2019 than Black or Hispanic households.

A range of potential solutions exists to address this stark inequality including strengthening and expanding Social Security, protecting pensions, increasing access to savings-based plans for low-income workers, and reforming retirement tax incentives.

Author(s): Tyler Bond

Publication Date: September 2021

Publication Site: National Institute on Retirement Security

Opinion: Pension plans — and the people they support — are in danger

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/letters-to-the-editor/pension-plans–and-the-people-they-support–are-in-danger/2021/02/28/3b1282fe-777c-11eb-9489-8f7dacd51e75_story.html

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Contrary to the Feb. 18 editorial “Congress needs to focus its covid relief bill — on covid relief,” multiemployer pension plans have faced significant additional challenges caused by the ongoing global pandemic. It has jeopardized these plans’ ability to deliver hard-earned benefits to more than 1 million enrolled retirees and workers and must be addressed by lawmakers now. The shutdown of the U.S. economy has greatly amplified the financial struggle of these plans. Hundreds of employers are facing bankruptcy and cannot contribute to multiemployer pension funds; employees have lost their jobs; and the sharp drop in interest rates hit plans hard. Senior citizens and essential workers are disproportionately impacted by both the effects of the coronavirus and the multiemployer pension crisis.

As the United States looks to reopen and rebuild, maintaining the solvency of the multiemployer pension system will be key to economic recovery. The National Institute on Retirement Security concluded that the $44.2 billion in private pension benefit payments paid to retirees of multiemployer plans in 2018 supported $96.6 billion in overall economic output in the national economy and an estimated $14.7 billion in total tax revenue. The country can ill-afford a reduction in these revenue streams during the recovery period.

Author(s): James Hoffa

Publication Date: 28 February 2021

Publication Site: Washington Post

Retirement Insecurity 2021 | Americans’ Views of Retirement

Press Release: https://www.nirsonline.org/2021/02/amid-political-division-americans-united-in-retirement-worry/

Webinar recording:

Webinar slides: https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/FINAL-Public-Opinion-Webinar-Slides-Feb-25-2021.pdf

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This new national survey of working-age Americans also reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated worries about achieving financial security in retirement.

More than half of Americans (51 percent) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased concerns about achieving financial security in retirement. And the COVID-19 concern is high across party lines: 57 percent among Democrats; 50 percent for Independents; and at 44 percent for Republicans.

Author(s): Dan Doonan, Kelly Kenneally, Tyler Bond

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: National Institute on Retirement Security