Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The April Review

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The April Review

Article excerpt

The economics of retirement, according to many observers, may well be the key policy issue of the first decades of the 21st century. The eldest members of the enormous baby-boom generation that was born between 1946 and 1964 turn 55 this year and, as William J. Wiatrowski points out, that is an age at which at least one statute permits penalty-free withdrawals from at least one form of retirement account under at least one set of circumstances.

Wiatrowski describes in detail the changing framework within which formal eligibility for retirement benefits is determined and how that affects the structure of retirement income. He concludes: "In 100 years, the Nation has gone from a society that needed few retirement benefits, through a period of closely structured retirement plans and ages, to a more flexible period characterized by varying plans and ages," This leads, as our cover illustration suggests, to a wider range of ages and circumstances at which one might become a "retiree."

A factor that can affect retirement decisions is the "health" of establishments--that is, is your employer expanding or contracting employment. …

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