| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Great Recession, weak recovery to lower standard of living for near-retirees

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Washington Post
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 6:12 p.m.

For the first time since the New Deal, a majority of Americans are headed toward a retirement in which they will be financially worse off than their parents, jeopardizing a long era of improved living standards for the nation's elderly, according to a growing consensus of new research.

The Great Recession and the weak recovery darkened the retirement picture for significant numbers of Americans. And the full extent of the damage is only now being grasped by experts and policymakers.

Even before the downturn destroyed 40 percent of Americans' personal wealth and an environment in which savings accounts pay almost no interest, there was mounting concern for the long-term security of the country's rapidly graying population. Although the surging stock market is approaching highs, most of these gains are flowing to well-off Americans who are in relatively good shape for retirement.

Liberal and conservative economists worry that the decline in retirement prospects marks a historic shift in a country that previously has fostered generations of improvement in the lives of the elderly. It is likely to have far-reaching implications, because an increasing number of retirees may be forced to double up with younger relatives or turn to social-service programs.

“This is the first time that Americans are going to be relatively worse off than their parents or grandparents in old age,” said Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research.

The center's findings are similar to those recently uncovered by researchers at the New School, the Heritage Foundation and the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Colorado clinic shooting suspect talked of baby parts, police say
  2. Police union stands by Chicago officer charged with murdering teen
  3. Slow-moving, wintry storm packs punch in Plains, Midwest
  4. Federal $1.1 trillion spending bill loaded with policy deals
  5. Disability claim waits grow alongside swelling caseloads for judges
  6. Police officer killed in Colorado Spring clinic rampage a co-pastor, figure skater
  7. AIDS activist finishes rowing across Atlantic
  8. Prof proposes museum of corruption in New York capital
  9. Authorization for NSA dragnets of phone call data expires
  10. Pot doctors in medical marijuana states push boundaries with marketing
  11. Investors buy shares in college students: Purdue University thinks it’s wave of future