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Key Findings Details

Retirement Wealth Across Cohorts: The Role of Earnings Inequality and Pension Changes
Ann Huff Stevens
WP 2008-186

  • Reduced earnings over several decades, particularly at the bottom of the wealth distribution, have produced sizeable changes in accumulated wealth.
  • In contrast to the findings for private, pre-retirement wealth, Social Security benefits are not predicted to decline over time, even for those groups who have faced significant deterioration in their real earnings.
  • For those groups whose lifetime earnings were lower than previous cohorts, the role of Social Security in their overall wealth portfolio may be larger than for earlier cohorts.