Anna M. Rappaport, F.S.A. and Sylvester J. Schieber
Demographers, economists, and other social policy analysts are increasingly focusing their attention on the period after the turn of the century when the segment of the population born between 1946 and 1964 pass into their retirement years. This segment of the population, known as the baby boom, is extremely important because it is larger than any other segment of the population born during a comparable period. The sheer size of the baby boom suggests that it may pose special challenges to our national economy and retirement programs when its members retire.
As we anticipate the retirement of the baby boomers, it is important to prepare ourselves to accommodate the changes that their retirements will pose. We must determine ways so that the workers who will have to support the increased burden posed by the retired baby boomers will be sufficiently productive to meet this burden, while simultaneously meeting the workers' own consumption and investment needs. In order to be successful, we must pursue policies that will enhance the productivity of future workers to the maximum extent possible. This need to improve productivity implies that we must now be investing in new and more efficient ways of operating our economy. This implies that we should look carefully at our current national savings behavior and the role that federal fiscal policy plays in this area generally, and the specific role that it has on public and private programs aimed at providing retirement income security. If we do not begin to address these issues now, the baby boomers' retirement burden will be upon us before we are prepared.
This book presents the papers and comments from the Pension Research Council's Spring 1991 Symposium. It focuses on those issues related to the age structure of the population and patterns of retirement as well as our ability to anticipate how these might change in the future.