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Longevity Policy

Facing Up to Longevity Issues Affecting Social Security, Pensions, and Older Workers

John A. Turner

Publication Year: 2011

The life expectancy of Americans continues to increase, and each day 12,000 baby boomers turn 50, expanding the ranks of our older population while ramping up the pressure on public and private retirement programs. At the same time, public policy has failed to keep pace with the challenges this aging population brings of how to pay for the living costs of those added years; many of our current social policies and employee benefit policies were designed during an era when people had shorter life spans. Turner addresses these policy issues and makes the case that longevity policy should be recognized as a distinct area—as we do now for climate change. Instead of treating issues relating to older age, Social Security, and pensions separately, we need to recognize the interrelationships among these areas and adopt a unified approach toward policy. Doing so, Turner argues, would make for much more effective and efficient policymaking.

Published by: W.E. Upjohn Institute

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

Tables

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pp. viii-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

I have greatly benefi ted from collaboration with distinguished coauthors, whose work with me I have cited and to whom I express gratitude: Clive Bailey, Daniel Beller, Yung-Ping Chen, Teresa Ghilarducci, Colin Gillion, Roy Guenther, Mark Iwry, Denis Latulippe...

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1 - The Policy Challenges of Increasing Longevity: Paying the Costs of Living Longer

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pp. 1-12

Increases in life expectancy are no secret, yet government policy does not explicitly deal with their well-known consequences for Social Security financing. Every day 12,000 baby boomers turn 50. Continuing improvements in life expectancy mean that those people will live longer on average than any...

Part 1 Labor Market Policytoward Older Workers

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pp. 13-

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2 - Can Older Workers Extend Their Work Lives? Changes in Health and Job Requirements

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pp. 15-38

This chapter addresses the question of whether workers would be able to work longer without undue hardship. This issue is key in formulating policies to deal with the improvements in longevity. Specifically, this chapter focuses on working past...

Part 2 Social Security Policy

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pp. 39-

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3 - Automatic Adjustment Mechanisms to Maintain Social Security's Solvency

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pp. 41-70

The trustees of Social Security project in their 2010 report that Social Security will not have suffi cient resources to pay benefits on time starting in 2037.1 At that point it will be able to pay 75 percent of promised benefits (Social Security Board of Trustees 2010). Over the long term, increases in life...

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4 - Raising the Early Retirement Age

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pp. 71-86

Even if Social Security were not projected to have insufficient funds based on current life expectancy, continued increases in life expectancy would cause an insufficiency to occur in the future. Therefore, a practical reform proposal to maintain Social Security’s solvency should include an adjustment of Social Security for rising longevity. Many policy options could...

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5 - Longevity Insurance Benefits

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pp. 87-102

With increased longevity, retirees face an increased risk of having insufficient resources to maintain their standard of living at older ages. While Social Security provides a guaranteed lifetime benefit, that benefit is insufficient for most retirees to maintain their preretirement standard of living. Thus, most people...

Part 3 Pension Policy

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pp. 103-

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6 - Defined Contribution Plans: Encouraging Annuitization

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pp. 105-116

Retirees risk outliving their assets. While Social Security provides a guaranteed lifetime benefit, it does not provide enough income for most retirees to maintain their preretirement standard of living. Accordingly, individuals who reach retirement with a 401(k) plan and without a traditional defined benefit....

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7 - Defined Benefit Plans: Flexibility to Deal with Increasing Life Expectancy

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pp. 117-126

Improving longevity among workers causes the increasing social security costs that so many nations are facing, but it also causes increasing costs for employers sponsoring defined benefit plans. This increasing longevity raises the costs of providing benefits in defined benefit pension plans...

Part 4 Conclusion

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pp. 127-

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8 - Policy Recommendations

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pp. 129-134

While increasing longevity at older ages is well known, U.S. policymakers have not developed a unified national policy that deals with its effects. In this book, I recommend a number of policies for dealing with increased longevity, arguing...

References

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pp. 135-148

The Author

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pp. 149-150

Index

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pp. 151-158

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About the Institute

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pp. 159-

The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research is a nonprofit research organization devoted to finding and promoting solutions to employmentrelated problems at the national, state, and local levels. It is an activity of the W.E. Upjohn Unemployment Trustee Corporation, which was established in 1932 to administer a fund...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780880993999
E-ISBN-10: 0880993995
Print-ISBN-13: 9780880993777
Print-ISBN-10: 0880993774

Page Count: 159
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: First

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Subject Headings

  • Social security -- United States.
  • Pensions -- Government policy -- United States.
  • Older people -- Employment -- Government policy -- United States.
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