The Politics of Future Seniors

Another important item in the new issue of the Washington Monthly is the article by the Center for American Progress’ Christian Weller and John Halpin focusing on the status of future seniors, not today’s over-65s. The next wave of retirees, and those who follow it, aren’t doing all that well:

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates that 53 percent of working-age households in 2010 were at risk of being unable to maintain their current standard of living in retirement, making the outlook for many Baby Boomers and younger Americans far more challenging than it is for most current retirees. In 2013 among American households headed by someone between the age of fifty-five and sixty-four, half had a net worth of less than $166,000—including home equity and money held in retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). The median net worth of such households, adjusted for inflation, declined by 14 percent between 2010 and 2013, according to Federal Reserve data, despite an officially recovering economy and a roaring stock market. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans with retirement accounts continues to fall, slipping below 50 percent last year.

That’s a big deal economically, and hence politically. Read it all.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.