Using a microsimulation model, this paper follows GenX and Early Millennial Americans between 2020 and 2050. Projections suggest they will find it difficult to maintain or improve their economic circumstances between their work and retirement years. Although GenX and Early Millennial retirees are expected to be better off than current retirees on absolute measures of income, they are expected to be worse off than current retirees on relative measures of inequality, poverty, and replacement rates. Retirement outcomes are projected to significantly worsen for future retirees without college educations and those with weak lifetime employment and earnings, but improve for Hispanics.
Barbara Butrica is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, with more than two decades’ experience researching the economics of aging, including older workers, pensions and retirement plans, Social Security, and retirement security. Her recent studies have examined the role of debt on labor force participation and Social Security benefit claiming; the retirement prospects of workers in alternative work arrangements; how caregiving affects work and retirement savings; the impact of the Social Security, pension, and tax systems on work incentives at older ages; the effect of the Great Recession on 401(k) participation and contributions; and strategies for improving the employment prospects of low-income incumbent older workers.
Before joining Urban, Butrica held positions as an analyst at Mercer Human Resource Consulting and an economist at the Social Security Administration. She has a BA from Wellesley College and a PhD from Syracuse University, both in economics.
*This working paper was made possible by the US 2050 project, supported by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors.