AARP Report: The U.S. Retirement System Has Been Changing

Among Seniors, a Declining Interest in Boosters

In 2006, more than 7 percent of all U.S. retirement plan assets were in stock-based individual and employer retirement accounts.

By 2016, the U.S. retirement system had nearly 8 percent of assets in stock-based IRAs and stocks, and less than 6 percent in traditional defined contribution (DC) retirement plans.

While the pace of change in the U.S. retirement system has slowed, the percentage of employees with IRAs remains relatively high today at nearly 27 percent, according to a new report from the AARP Public Policy Institute.

In fact, the share of non-retirees with IRAs is the same today as 30 years ago. AARP researchers noted that the retirement security of today’s non-retirees is comparable to that of the 1970s.

“Most of the new money in the last 30 years has been borrowed from other people,” says Jeff Jones, AARP’s vice president for research and analysis. “We’re not talking about a massive increase in capital spending.”

Jones has been a retired teacher and administrator who became a full-time scholar after retiring from his position at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., where he had taught for more than 30 years.

The report is the second in a year-long series examining retirement trends in the United States since the Great Recession. The first report was produced by an AARP working group that examined trends in the retirement security of private sector workers.

The authors of the new report, published last month in a report co-written by Steven Presser, an economist with the AARP Research Foundation, and Ryan McShea, a policy analyst with the AARP Research Foundation, studied two different measures of retirement security.

One was the share of workers in the labor force who say they have any form of an IRA, defined as self-employed workers or those who receive Social Security benefits. The second was the amount of money in retirement savings plans

Leave a Comment