[Excerpt] As the leading edge of the baby boom approaches retirement age, policy makers and the public are asking, “How will people approaching age 65 fare in retirement, particularly compared to previous generations?” Although this is a difficult question to answer, some insight can be gained by comparing the retirement resources of people who are 55–-64 today to those of earlier generations. Selected Indicators of Retirement Resources Among People Aged 55–-64:1984, 1994, and 2004 (Retirement Resources), produced by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics (Forum), used national data to provide a comparison of select measures of retirement resources among people aged 55-–64 in 2004 to the resources of earlier cohorts in 1984 and 1994.
Retirement Resources focuses primarily on two areas –– measures of economic resources that comprise retirement income (Social Security benefits, financial wealth and assets, and occupational pension income) and insurance against health care risk (the availability of employer-provided health insurance that continues after retirement; the purchase of long-term care insurance; and the availability of adult children for informal care). This report is not intended to be a comprehensive study of retirement resources among people nearing retirement; in particular, it does not include important areas such as health status, lifestyle behavior, health care utilization, and/or health care costs. Instead, the report highlights similarities and differences in retirement income and insurance against health care risks among three different cohorts.
Retirement Resources differs from other Forum reports in that it focuses on the population nearing age 65, rather than those who are already age 65 and over. Recognizing that decisions people make before they retire can play a major role in how well prepared they are for retirement, the Forum has compared retirement resources across three cohorts of people aged 55–-64 to show how the needs of older people in the future may differ from the needs of older people today.