Workbooks for an Older Economy

Article excerpt


Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge (Brookings Institution Press, 2008) is one of a number of new titles that con- front the challenges of today's aging workforce and retirement income secu- rity in the United States. Coauthors AUcia H. MunneU, director of the Cen- ter for Retirement Research at Boston College, and Steven A. Sass, the cen- ter's associate director, frame the con- temporary conundrum: The average worker in the United States needs more retirement income than ever because of increased life expectancy and soaring healthcare costs, but Social Security and employerprovided pensions and retiree healthcare plans are declining.

In this thought-provoking book, MunneU and Sass suggest that by staying on the job another two to four years - and moving the current average retirement age of 63 to 66 - many retirees in 2030 can be as well off as those in the current generation. The authors explore whether future generations of workers will be healmy enough or willing to labor a few years longer. They examine incentives for companies to employ plder_ workers, and discuss the government's role in promoting older adults' continued participation in the workforce. In addition, they consider the challenge of ensuring a secure retirement for low-wage employees and those unable to continue working.

Gray Skies, Silver Linings: How Companies Are Forecasting, Managing, and Recruiting a Mature Workforce, a 95-page report pubüshed late last year by The Conference Board, states, "Despite warnings of disaster tied to the impending retirement of the first wave of baby boomers, smart companies can actually benefit from this change in the workforce if they plan carefully." Coauthors Mary B. Young, Diane Piktialis and Anna Rappaport included a dozen case stuthes of companies, such as Bon Secours Richmond Healthcare, CVS Caremark, Deere and Company and GlaxoSmithKline, that are already benefiting.

The authors found that "recruiting mature workers may not even be on the radar screen for some companies. …