Retirement: Crisis or Challenge? - Forbes, SCL
One of the topics frequently surfacing in the media is the notion that we’re facing a “retirement crisis.” In a post today on forbes.com, Stanford Center on Longevity research scholar and Forbes contributor Steve Vernon dives into this notion with a more clarifying question: “Is it really a crisis, or a handful of critical retirement planning challenges?”
Drawing on findings from a Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL) study titled, “Funding Longevity: Evaluating Proposals to Improve Retirement Security,” Vernon reiterates the definition of a retirement crisis as depicted in the media (a situation in which “Social Security goes bankrupt and retirees who haven’t saved enough money have to move in with their kids”), outlines where society’s vulnerabilities lie, and recaps the study’s points on potential solutions. Interestingly, sustainability of Social Security “for decades to come” appears at the top of the list.
Vernon closes his article with the broad comment that “As a society, we’re in uncharted waters with a large part of the population anticipating long periods in retirement.” This specific point underscores the need to look critically at the retirement age criteria currently in place in the Social Security rulebook, where either age 66 or 67 is stipulated as the “full retirement age” (FRA) despite the fact that longevity has retiree lifespans extending well into the 80s and beyond. The SCL study acknowledges the benefit of delaying retirement and suggests raising both the early retirement age (62) and the FRA, and addresses many other potential changes to the current U.S. retirement system that could “improve the retirement security of American workers and retirees as it relates to finances.”
It’s interesting to note that many of the improvement suggestions set forth in the SCL study are similar to the details embraced in the Association of Mature American Citizens’ (AMAC) Social Security Guarantee, a proposed legislative framework designed to sustain the U.S. Social Security system for years to come, with the added benefit of avoiding the need for tax increases. Read the AMAC Social Security Guarantee here…