How Prepared Are Americans for Retirement?

May 24, 2022

By Olivia S. Mitchell, Knowledge at Wharton

How prepared are Americans for retirement? That question has assumed increased importance in the past two years of the Covid pandemic and the recession it triggered. The first two months of the pandemic (March and April 2020) claimed a record 23 million jobs, where older workers, age 55 and above, took the biggest hit with 5.7 million job losses. The unemployment rate overall and specifically for older workers has since fallen to pre-pandemic levels as of April 2022, but the labor force participation rate for older workers remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Those concerns set the backdrop for a two-day symposium titled “Real-World Shocks and Retirement System Resiliency,” hosted by Wharton’s Pension Research Council (PRC) in late April. Some 20 experts drawn from public institutions, academia and research organizations explored multiple aspects of retirement preparedness at the symposium.

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