Millions of American workers are frozen out of their companies’ pension plans. Maybe you get a 401(k), if you’re lucky. But the traditional pension is dead.
Unless, perhaps, you’re already retired.
It still lives for millions of older Americans who worked and qualified for their pensions in another era. Today’s retirees are living pretty well, new research finds—much better than previously thought.
The usual way to measure people’s economic well-being is to ask them. But sometimes surveys confuse people, especially about what qualifies as income.
A new paper by U.S. Census Bureau researchers Adam Bee and Joshua Mitchell uses a Social Security Administration database of 2012 tax filings and other earnings data to check on those survey responses. Older Americans, it turns out, are underestimating their income—by a lot.
The median U.S. household 65 or older earned $44,400 in 2012, those data show, a figure 30 percent higher than the median given in the census’s Current Population Survey from