Study Reveals New Retirees Are Better Prepared Than Previously Thought

The calculation of households prepared to transition into retirement has been operating off of a flawed estimate of retirement income in United States Census Bureau data, with numbers actually showing that more are prepared for the transition out of work than originally believed. This is one of the primary conclusions underlying a new brief released by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR).

The speculation that some census data paints an incorrect picture of the real situation, the brief notes, “has led some to question prior work suggesting that a large proportion of the population is ill-prepared for retirement.”

Based on a 2017 research paper by Adam Bee and Joshua Mitchell, members of the U.S. Census Bureau, the brief looks at data analyses from five different sources: the Current Population Survey (CPS), the triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID).


Data yielded from these sources is then compared with administrative records from both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA). The original paper by Bee and Mitchell has renewed concern that the CPS’ income measurements are inaccurate, which has caused that concern to spread to other estimates of retirement income from other survey datasets.

While this research would seem to indicate that the CPS may not be particularly reliable for this information, the SCF, HRS, PSID, and SIPP are still well-founded sources since their data tends to align more closely with the administrative figures from the IRS and SSA.

For a more detailed breakdown of the information, you can read the full CRR brief by clicking here.

Written by Chris Clow

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  • Like all projections, this one is full of flaws and even errors. Yet one has to operate business on the best possible estimates that incorporate the beliefs and views of those who oversee the business of the company. On the other hand, there are birth and death records available to researchers so that tracking the US population in the last half of the last century and in the first of this century is much easier than projecting the operational outcome of a cohort of HECMs accounted for in the MMIF.

    The same research center that has been spewing out research to the contrary for years. It has been declaring that retirement of today’s Baby Boomers would strain the economy for years. They are on both sides on almost every aspect of the retirement economic picture for the next couple of decades.

  • I agree fully with George Owens, the data spewed out in this article are full of flaws and errors!

    As far as seniors being better prepared than previously thought, just what does that mean where this article is concerned?

    Common sense tells you there are many problems with seniors not being well prepared for retirement. Many have lost their retirement plans due to being let go to soon from their jobs. Many seniors were hit very hard when the 2008 housing and economic crash hit, and many have not fully recovered yet!

    Many seniors did not plan properly for their retirement. In addition, the technological age of investing left many behind at the starting gate.

    A great deal of seniors are struggling with retirement, many are faced with working way beyond the time they had planned to retire and some see no way of ever retiring!

    No, I am like George on his assessment of the projections made in this article!

    John A. Smaldone

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