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Catching the Wave
People Everywhere Are Working for the Greater Good in the Second Half of Life
Sources of information on baby boomers The Journalists' Guide to Covering the Aging of the Baby Boom

Boomers and Policy

  • "Retirement Policy by the Numbers" – The Income and Benefits Policy Center provides snapshots of key policy issues on retirement and older adults. Trends in labor force participation rates (among older Americans,) potential consequences of an aging workforce, and the difficulties and benefits of working longer. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • RetirementReform.org – A new Web site by the National Center for Policy Analysis. Contains the latest and most prominent research on public policies that affect retirement. The materials cover the gamut from Social Security, Medicare and state pensions to 401(k)s and IRAs. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • 2005 White House Conference on Aging Resolutions (2005) – [VIEW]
  • "The Retirement Policy Challenges and Opportunities of our Aging Society" (2005) – [VIEW]
  • Corporation for National and Community Service, WHCOA Policy Recommendations: "Engaging Baby Boomers in Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century" (2005) – [VIEW]
  • GSA - "Civic Engagement in an Older America" (2004) – [VIEW]
  • Generations United – A national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies. Serves as a resource for educating policymakers and the public about the economic, social, and personal imperatives of intergenerational cooperation. – [VIEW]
  • Whitehouse.gov - Expanding Opportunities for Senior Service[VIEW]
  • "Boomers are Ready for Nonprofits, but are Nonprofits Ready for them?" – This report focuses on the impact that projected baby boomer retirements will have on the strength, growth, stability, and potential of the nonprofit sector in coming years. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • "Fact Sheet on Older Women Workers, ages 55 and over" (2006) – [VIEW]
  • "Policies to Promote Labor Force Participation" – This paper explores the potential supply of and demand for older workers and looks at some proposals to help increase the labor force participation of this group. (2006) – [VIEW]
  • The Diverse Employment Experiences of Older Men and Women in the Workforce" (2005) – [VIEW]
  • Capitol Hill Hearing Testimony, Senate Special Aging Committee – by Barbara Bovpjerg (2005) – [VIEW]
  • Urban Institute - "Letting Older Workers Work" (2003) – [VIEW]
  • "Economic Implications of the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000" - Business Economics – This paper describes the Act's major features and how they will impact the earnings streams of current and future beneficiaries. It then explores the implications for labor force participation, aggregate output, and federal revenue and expenditure--concluding that the net impact may be to increase federal surpluses. It is likely to create complex employment issues and increased private-sector costs, particularly during an economic downturn. (2000) – [VIEW]
Older Workers and Social Security
  • " REPORT: Economic Crisis Fuels Support for Social Security: Americans' Views on Social Security " – This report highlights findings from a poll of 1488 Americans jointly sponsored by the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Rockefeller Foundation's Campaign for American Workers Initiative. (2009) – [VIEW]
  • Fast Facts and Figures about Social Security, 2009 – A slew of data about Social Security Recipients. Among the findings: SSA paid benefits to about 55.8 million people in 2008; Social Security provided at least half the income for 64 percent of the aged in 2007; Women accounted for 56 percent of adult Social Security beneficiaries in 2008; The average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries was 52.6 in 2008 Eighty-four percent of SSI recipients received payments because of disability or blindness in 2008 (2009) – [VIEW]
  • "Early Retirement, Labor Supply, and Benefit Withholding: The Role of the Social Security Earnings Test" – The labor supply and benefit claiming incentives provided by the early retirement rules of the Social Security Old Age benefits program are increasingly important as the standard retirement age increases to 67, more older Americans work, and a variety of reforms to the S.S. system are considered. This paper describes incentives, and analyzes the benefit withholding patterns using data from the Master Beneficiary Files of the Social Security Administration. (2008) – [VIEW]
  • "How Does Modeling of Retirement Decisions at the Family Level Affect Estimates of the Impact of Social Security Policies on Retirement?" – (2008) – [VIEW]
  • "Diverse Perspectives on Social Security" – The Social Security program protects 156 million workers and their families, and provides benefits to 47 million retirees, people with disabilities, widow(er)s, and children. The following links represent the wide range of perspectives on how the program protects people from all walks of life. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • "How Much Do Americans Depend on Social Security" – Many low-income workers depend almost entirely on Social Security for their retirement income, but it is often assumed that high-wage workers can maintain their standard of living without Social Security benefits due to their private pensions and savings. Surprisingly, however, even high-wage workers depend on Social Security for a substantial portion of their retirement income and would significantly change their consumption and saving behavior in the absence of Social Security. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • "Promoting Work: Implications of Raising Social Security's Early Retirement Age" – This brief addresses the question of whether today’s workers would be able to work longer without undue hardship if Social Security's Early Eligibility Age were raised. Answering this question requires exploring trends in both the health of older workers and the nature of jobs. In examining these areas, the brief focuses in particular on economically vulnerable groups — women and minorities. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • "Social Security: Basic Data" – How does Social Security affect the incomes of age 65+ Americans? In this AARP Public Policy Institute Data Digest, Alison Shelton identifies recipients of Social Security benefits by beneficiary status, gender and ethnicity. The report tells how much beneficiaries receive, describes how Social Security is financed, and explains its financial status. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • Social Security's Financial Outlook: The 2007 Report in Perspective – The Trustees of the Social Security system have issued the 2007 report. The report includes projections for the system over the next 75 years, prepared by Social Security's Office of the Actuary. The bottom line is that the long-run outlook has remained virtually unchanged for the last thirteen years. The system has a 75-year deficit equal to about 2 percent of taxable payrolls and the trust fund faces exhaustion in the early 2040s, after which the system will be able to pay only 75 percent of promised benefits. The clear message of the persistent deficits is that the financing shortfall should be eliminated so that people can be assured they receive the income they need in retirement. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • "Minimum Benefits in Social Security Could Reduce Aged Poverty" – Despite Social Security's success at bolstering retirement security, many older Americans remain mired in poverty. Because Social Security does not guarantee a minimum benefit, many long-service, low-wage workers receive benefits that leave them below the poverty line. African Americans, Hispanics, and unmarried women are especially vulnerable. Although productivity gains are likely to reduce old-age poverty over time, Social Security's long-term financing problem makes future benefit cuts likely. This analysis explores two potential minimum-benefit designs and shows that an effective minimum benefit could help protect the highest-risk groups. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • "Would Raising the Social Security Retirement Age Harm Low-Income Groups?" – Social Security's projected financial shortfall has spurred discussions about increasing the age at which workers can first receive retirement benefits. This brief examines the future distributional impacts of raising the retirement age by about three years. Raising the retirement age hits lower-income workers less hard than other groups because the disability program provides some protection. However, it still increases poverty rates. Combining the retirement age change with an enhanced minimum benefit increases lifetime benefits for the lowest earners and substantially cuts the Social Security deficit without significantly increasing poverty rates. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • Social Security and Older Workers - Fact Sheet (2007) – [VIEW]
  • "Working for a Good Retirement" – The choice of retirement age is one of the most important decisions most workers will make. Drawing on the Urban Institute's Dynamic Simulation of Income model (DYNASIM3), this report examines how delaying retirement for nondisabled workers would affect individual retiree benefits, the solvency of the Social Security trust fund, and general revenues. The results suggest that delaying retirement by itself does not generate enough additional revenue to make Social Security solvent by 2045. Benefit cuts or supplementary funding sources will be necessary to achieve solvency. However, the size of the benefit cuts or tax increases could be minimized if individuals worked longer. This additional work also substantially increases worker's retirement well-being. (2006) – [VIEW]
  • "Social Security's Financial Outlook: The 2006 Update in Perspective" – The Social Security Trustees have issued their 2006 Report on the financial outlook for the system. The Report uses three sets of cost assumptions: high, low, and intermediate. This brief focuses on the intermediate assumptions and puts this year's numbers in perspective. (2006) – [VIEW]
  • "Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2004" – This report provides a broad income picture of a cross section of the population aged 55 or older, with special emphasis on income of the population aged 65 or older. The tabulations focus on the major sources and amounts of income in 2004, both separately and combined, for those age groups. (2006) – [VIEW]
  • "Women and Social Security" – This brief discusses features of Social Security that have greater ramifications for women and considers proposals to make benefit distribution more equitable to women. Since women have diverse work and family experiences, any reform is likely to have disparate effects. The brief highlights differences among groups of women while recognizing the diversity within them. (2005) – [VIEW]
  • Social Security: Basic Data Fact Sheet (2005) – [VIEW]
  • Social Security - How Work Affects Your Benefits (2005) – [VIEW]
  • Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement – WISER is the nation's only non-profit organization wholly devoted to providing women with the crucial skills and information they need to improve their economic circumstances and plan for a financially sound retirement. – [VIEW]
  • National Academy of Social Insurance - How Will Boomers Affect Social Security?[VIEW]
  • The Social Security Network – A source for information, analysis and expert commentary on the Social Security debate – [VIEW]
Older Workers and Health Insurance
  • www.medicare.gov – The official US government site for information on Medicare. This site provides multiple comparison tools for health plans, Medigap, hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, etc. There is a long-term care planning tool that provides valuable information on financing your long term care needs. There is a resource section, links to other websites like Healthfinder.com and publications that can be downloaded. (2007) – [VIEW]
  • "Health Coverage for Aging Baby Boomers: Findings from the Commonwealth Survey of Older Adults – The combination of rising out-of-pocket health care costs and sluggish wage growth threatens workers' ability to save for retirement. This is particularly true for adults ages 50 to 64, or "baby boomers," whose per capita health care expenditures are more than twice those of younger adults. (2006) – [VIEW]
  • Advisingboomers.com - Risky Business: For Boomers, taking care of their health now and into the future is complex, and it's only going to get more so"[VIEW]
  • The Commonwealth Fund - Tax code and health insurance[VIEW]
Older Workers and Taxes
  • "Health Care Costs, Taxes, and the Retirement Decision" – Will soaring health costs and high future tax rates lead people to delay retirement? This study assesses potential impacts by comparing retirement incomes under two different scenarios. The high-burden scenario assumes that health costs grow rapidly and tax rates rise nearly enough to balance the federal budget. The alternative assumes that burdens remain at their 2000 levels. Moderate-income couples retiring in 2030 would have to work an additional 2.5 years under the high-burden scenario to receive the same income in the first year of retirement, net of taxes and out-of-pocket health spending, as they would receive under the low-burden scenario. (2006) – [VIEW]
  • USA Today- "Tax Regulations Frustrate Many Workers Over Age 70" – by Sandra Block (2002) – [VIEW]
Age Discrimination
  • "Why are Older orkers at greGreater Risk of Displacement?" – This brief analyzes changes in the displacement of older and prime-age workers since the mid-1990s and the effect of three factors - tenure, educational attainment, and employment in manufacturing - identified as having a significant effect on displacement risk. The results show that all three factors contributed to the rising dislocation risk older workers face and their rising risk vis-à-vis prime-age workers. (2009) – [VIEW]
  • "How do age discrimination laws affect older workers?" – The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age-based discrimination against older workers through hiring, firing, layoffs, compensation and other conditions of employment. The law covers most workers age 40 and older in firms with 20 or more employees. The question is whether the ADEA and similar state laws have helped or hurt older workers. On the one hand, the legislation may have prevented companies from unfairly dismissing older workers. On the other hand, the fear of lawsuits may have dissuaded employers from hiring older workers. If so, the law would benefit "insiders" who already have jobs but harm "outsiders" seeking employment. This brief discusses the history, mechanics, and impact of age protection laws in the United States. It summarized previous research and presents new findings using data from the Current Population Survey. (2006) – [VIEW]
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - Facts About Age Discrimination[VIEW]
  • Webster University - Ageism: An Introduction[VIEW]

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Water Pitcher
What a waste

Dorothea Glass retired as chair of a medical school department and moved to the ocean. She approached a local hospital with the offer to put her decades of experience as a physician and medical executive to work – for free. The hosptial offered her a volunteer job filling water pitchters.

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