Rethinking Retirement

Can Americans afford to retire?
By Thomas J. Billitteri, June 19, 2009

Prospects for a secure retirement are more imperiled now than at any time since before the creation of the Social Security program in 1935. Low savings rates and credit abuse have contributed to the problem, but the recent economic crisis, which has led to massive layoffs and a collapse of the stock market, is forcing even those who have prepared and saved to rethink their retirement strategies. The entire retirement structure, including the shift away from traditional guaranteed pension plans toward 401(k) accounts, is under scrutiny, and Congress has called for greater transparency in the way such accounts are administered. Meanwhile, retirement experts are counseling workers to stay on the job longer to ensure their retirement security, and some economists are calling for reductions in Social Security benefits to shore up the entitlement system and accommodate the impending wave of retirements among the post-World War II baby-boom generation.

The Issues:
*Will most Americans be able to afford a secure retirement?
*Should Social Security benefits be cut to strengthen the system?
*Are new rules needed to foster greater private retirement savings?

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