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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, September 2006

The Bulletin on Aging & Health

Many workers in the U.S. and around the world have defined contribution retirement savings plans, either through their employers or as part of the social security system. Workers covered by these plans typically must make a number of decisions about the plan, which may include whether to participate, how much to contribute, how to allocate plan assets across various investment vehicles, and how to decumulate assets following retirement. For each of these decisions, there...

Research Summaries

People in the U.S. are not only living longer than in the past, they are also healthier at older ages. Over the past two decades, disability among the elderly has declined dramatically - the share of the elderly population reporting difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs) fell from 25 percent in 1984 to 20 percent in 1999, a decline of one-fifth. Although these facts are well-established, their causes and consequences are less clear. Is the reduction in...
Poor health has long been established as one of the most critical determinants of retirement behavior. Yet the existing literature has focused primarily on the role of physical illness. Since the early 1990s, mental illnesses have been the fastest growing source of claims for Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) benefits, particularly among people aged 45-64. This suggests that poor mental health may also be an important factor in retirement...

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