I was interviewed on WNYC's the Takeaway about my recent opinion column the New York Times "Our Ridiculous Approach to Retirement." In a segment titled "Has the American Retirement System Failed?" I discuss the findings of SCEPA's Guaranteeing Retirement Income Project - the implications of our inadequate retirement savings system based on individual retirement accounts, such as the 40(k), and what to do about it. Even with adequate planning under the current system, a period of sickness can wipe out any health or security a person has. Even with financial literacy, events can overtake people. This inevitably leads to a greater risk of falling into poverty for retired Americans.
The inadequacy of the current system of retirement savings has gotten worse since the Great Recession. The risk of poverty filtering up to the middle class as the recession wiped out lots of near-retirees (ages 55 to 65) savings and work history. The spector we all saw of more and more retired americans moving into poverty has actually been moved up about 20 or 30 years.
For the past 30 years, the American system of retirement savings experiemented with people saving on their own. The experiment hasn't work. Tthe solution doesn't fall on people knowing more or being more realistic, we need an expanded social security system that expects people to just be human beings, live their lives responsibly... We can't expect human being to act like spreadsheets. This generation of retirees or near retirees can still be helped with include social security plus.