Social Security and the Stock Market: How the Pursuit of Market Magic Shapes the System

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9780880992909: Social Security and the Stock Market: How the Pursuit of Market Magic Shapes the System

The U.S. retirement income system faces an enormous challenge as the Baby Boom generation nears retirement age. Social Security faces a long-term shortfall, defined benefit plans have become few and far between, and 401 (k) plans have failed to yield the accumulations that many people thought they would. How will future retirees get by? Many observers suggest that equities would help solve this problem. In this book from the Upjohn Institute, Alicia H. Munnell and Steven A. Sass explore the use of equities as a means of solving Social Security's financing problems. While including equities in some form promises the potential for higher yields that could keep the system afloat, the use of equities also poses a host of challenges that could dramatically alter the structure of Social Security. Munnell and Sass identify these challenges and their implications for the U.S. retirement income system. They base their findings on experiences that three nations (the UK, Australia, and Canada) have had with the use of equities as part of their retirement systems and point out the successes and setbacks that occurred in each country as a result. Overall, this highly readable book will appeal to anyone looking for answers to the financing problems facing Social Security and the rest of the U.S. retirement income system.

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From the Back Cover:

"The 1994-1996 Social Security Advisory Council, which I chaired, recommended three different approaches for using equity investments to help solve the long run Social Security fi nance issue. As it happens, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada have taken steps that roughly parallel the three approaches. Munnell and Sass evaluate the experience in these three countries. Their conclusions may not be the conclusions of everybody else, but this is a very interesting book and everybody else should read it."

Edward M. Gramlich, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute; Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy, University of Michigan

"Optimal social security design needs to look at the tradeoff between risk and return of retirement benefits. Munnell and Sass provide an excellent and lucid exposition of the issues which arise when seeking higher returns through riskier benefit designs. This is the book to turn to in order to review international experience so as to understand the pluses and minuses of equities."

J. Michael Orszag, Head of Research, Watson Wyatt LLP

"I've seen fi rst hand the importance of using equities to fund national retirement income programs. Munnell and Sass make a fresh and extremely valuable contribution by providing perspective on how equities have been included in the past--primarily through employer defi ned benefi t pension plans-- and how policy makers are now attempting to incorporate equities into Social Security programs."

Annika Sundén, Senior Economist, Swedish National Social Insurance Board

"Setting this analysis of the reform experiences in Australia, Canada and the UK in the context of the histories and projections of their retirement programs makes the analysis valuable for anyone wanting to learn from their experiences for future U.S. reform."

Peter Diamond, Institute Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

About the Author:

Alicia H. Munnell is the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and the Peter F. Drucker Professor of Management Sciences at Boston College's Carroll School of Management. Munnell earned a PhD from Harvard University.

Steven A. Sass is associate director for research at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. He earned a PhD from Johns Hopkins University.

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Munnell, Alicia H., Sass, Steven A.
Published by W E Upjohn Inst for (2006)
ISBN 10: 0880992905 ISBN 13: 9780880992909
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Alicia H. Munnell, Steven A. Sass
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