Nine Charts About the Future of Retirement

Aug 9, 2019 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

Social Security cuts, shrinking employer-sponsored pensions, low savings rates, and longer life spans have raised fears of a looming retirement crisis. But other trends point to better retirement outcomes, such as women’s increased employment and earnings, longer working lives, and economic growth that raises wages. How will these conflicting trends play out? How will the next generations of older Americans fare in retirement relative to those who came before? And what will happen to retirees if Congress cuts Social Security benefits to address the program’s long-term financing gap? These nine charts and commentary, based on projections from the Urban Institute’s Dynamic Simulation of Income Model 4 (DYNASIM4), provide some answers.

  1. Retirement incomes will continue to rise
  2. Women’s increased earnings will power retirement income growth
  3. Despite growth in retirement incomes, retirement resources will fall short for more Gen Xers and Xennials
  4. Social Security’s financing problems threaten retirement security
  5. Social Security cuts would disproportionately harm low-income retirees
  6. Old-age poverty rates could rise if policymakers ignore Social Security’s financial problems
  7. Racial and ethnic disparities in retirement income will persist
  8. The gender gap in Social Security benefits will narrow
  9. Gen Xers and Xennials will pay more taxes in retirement


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