A M E R I C A N AC A D E M Y of AC T UA R I E S baby boom members and those in the bottom half of income distribution, however, are likely to be little or no better off when investment returns moderate in the future. To avoid making the situation worse for future generations, it is important that those who have saved retain their savings and that those who have not saved begin to do so. Even with current high rates of investment return, baby boomers and those who follow are unlikely to have the financial good fortune of their parents. And, more important, even if the baby boom generation is for some unforeseen reason lucky, such optimism is not a proper basis for developing financially viable public policy. Few in the public are aware of the number of years and saving rates that are necessary to make up for the magnitude of declines that could occur in public programs, and the increases in cash income that might be needed for health care. In order to replace 20 percent of preretirement income, a worker with 30 years until age 65 would need to save 5 percent of income each year. If the worker had 20 years until retiring at 65, the required savings rate would be nearly 9 percent of earnings. At 10 years, 20 percent of earnings would be needed. These savings rates assume that the worker saves through a tax-favored pension arrangement. If the worker simply invests the money on his own in a non–tax-favored vehicle, the savings rates would need to be 50 to 100 percent higher depending upon the number of years until retirement (fig. 38).

Figure 39 Decline in Purchasing Power, Due to Inflation, of a Fixed $10,000 Annuity $10,000

$10,000 3% Annual Inflation

4% Annual Inflation

Annuity Value

$6,419 $5,553 $4,776 $3,751

At Retirement

15 Yrs. After Retirement 25 Yrs. After Retirement

Source: The Big Lie, A. Haeworth Robertson, Retirement Policy Institute, Washington, D.C., 1997, Chart 6.3, p. 51.

Figure 40 Savings Needed to Fund an Indexed Pension Equal to 10 Percent of Earnings at Retirement

Figure 38

14.7%

Required Annual Savings Rate

Savings Needed to Finance a Retirement Income Equal to10 Percent of Earnings at Retirement Non–tax-favored

Tax-favored

Required Annual Savings Rate

15.6%

10.4% 10.2%

9.1%

6.3% 4.6% 3.5% 2.8%

7.8% 6.3%

6.2% 5.1% 4.4%

4.4%

35

3.2% 1.9%

35

25

25

20

15

10

Years to Retirement

2.5%

30

30

20

15

Note 1: The figure can be used to calculate savings rates for higher retirement incomes by multiplying by multiples of ten. Thus, if one wants to save enough for an indexed pension that replaces 20 percent of earnings, the required savings rate would be 12.6 percent a year (6.3 times 2) if one were 20 years from retirement. If one were 30 years from retirement, the required savings rate would be 7 percent.

10

Years to Retirement

Note 2: The assumptions are the same as for Figure 38, except the monthly payment at retirement increases by 3.5 percent a year, which is the assumed rate of inflation. The figure assumes savings is through an employer pension plan or some other tax-favored retirement vehicle.

Note 1: The figure can be used to calculate savings rates for higher retirement incomes by multiplying by multiples of ten. For example, if one wants to save enough though a pension plan to replace 20 percent of earnings, the required savings rate would be 8.8 percent a year (4.4 times 2) if one were 20 years from retirement. If one were 30 years from retirement, the required savings rate would be 5 percent. If the savings is non–tax-favored, the required savings rates are considerably higher, although deferring capital gains could reduce them.

Source: Ronald Gebhardtsbauer, Senior Pension Fellow, American Academy of Actuaries.

Note 2: The calculations are based on a married couple (wife younger by three years), a rate of return of 7.5 percent for tax-favored pension savings, an after-tax return of 4.5 percent for non–tax-favored savings, inflation rate of 3.5 percent, annual career salary increases of 4.4 percent, a retirement age of 65, a level monthly payment at retirement that continues as long as either spouse is alive, and the 1994 GAR mortality table. Source: Ronald Gebhardtsbauer, Senior Pension Fellow, American Academy of Actuaries.

24

retirement_1

Published on Aug 18, 2011

The Problem and Options for Change PublicPolicyMonograph 1998 No. 1 A MERICAN A CADEMY of A CTUARIES

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