How Reliant are Older Americans on State and Local Government Pensions?

State and local government pension plans cover about 19.5 million participants, and many participants are heavily reliant on these pensions for retirement income. Most of these plans, however, are underfunded. Based on data from the Health and Retirement Study, we…

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Saving Regret: Self-assessed Life-cycle Saving Behavior in the U.S. and Singapore

Some studies have raised concerns that many households reach retirement with limited financial resources. The behavioral economics literature posits that procrastination may be an important explanation. We fielded a survey in the RAND American Life Panel, asking respondents ages 60…

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Financial Consequences of Health and Healthcare Spending Among Older Couples

Dementia, a chronic, degenerative disease characterized by deteriorating cognition, represents a particularly aggressive threat to older adults’ financial well-being.  Dementia-linked adverse financial events have the potential to deteriorate retirement savings, increasing financial strain and potentially demand for Medicaid and Supplemental…

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Cognitive Ability, Cognitive Aging, and Debt Accumulation

Financial product complexity has increased substantially in the past few decades and recent evidence suggests that older adults are entering retirement with more debt than previous generations. This project will examine how cognitive ability and cognitive aging are related to…

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The Risk of High Out-of-Pocket Health Spending among Older Americans

Traditional Medicare imposes significant cost-sharing on beneficiaries. Most but not all beneficiaries obtain supplemental insurance – through Medigap, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, or employer-sponsored retiree coverage – but these policies vary in how well they protect against the risk of high…

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Is the Adjustment of Benefits Actuarially Fair?

Adjustments to benefits for individuals who delay claiming are designed to reward work and ensure equitable treatment between those who delay and those who claim early. Over the past 20 years, Social Security claiming ages have increased and become more…

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Forecasting survival by socioeconomic status and implications for Social Security benefits, Year 2

Individuals with higher socioeconomic status tend to live longer than those with lower SES. The gap in survival rates has widened in recent decades, potentially affecting aggregate Social Security payouts. In prior research we forecast mortality stratified by SES using…

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Wealthy, educated retirees benefit from tax-advantaged retirement savings

Tax-advantaged savings plans—such as IRAs, Keogh, 401ks—have a significant tax cost. Understanding their roles and effectiveness in retirement funding is crucial to assessing whether their benefits outweigh their price. Until fairly recently, measuring these accounts’ economic impact was difficult because…

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The Growth and Geographical Variation of Nursing Home Self-Pay Prices

Nursing home care is arguably the largest financial risk for the elderly without private or social insurance coverage. The annual out-of-pocket expenditure can easily exceed $70,000. Despite the substantial financial burdens on the elderly, the understanding of nursing home self-pay…

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Tracking the elusive irregular IRA withdrawal

If Michael Hurd, Erik Meijer, Philip Pantoja, and Susann Rohwedder’s “Addition to the RAND HRS Longitudinal Files: IRA Withdrawals in the HRS, 2000-2014” were a home improvement project, the researchers would have put up spacious bookshelves in the Health and…

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