How is Economic Hardship Avoided by Those Retiring Before the Social Security Entitlement Age?
Governments around the world are reacting to extended lifespans and troubled pension finances by increasing the age of retirement benefit entitlement. One concern that arises is how those who are not working before reaching entitlement age are able to bridge their consumption to the age of entitlement. This paper studies those who retire before the age of full pension entitlement in the United States using data drawn from the Health and Retirement Study. The major finding is that four out of five people who have zero earnings at pre-entitlement ages are able to find a way to lift their incomes over the poverty line. For men, pension and annuity income is important while for women, spousal income helps most to get them over the line. Reaching the early retirement entitlement age at 62 also has a significant impact on poverty avoidance.
This research was supported by the U.S. Social Security Administration through grant #5RRC08098400-03-00 to the National Bureau of Economic Research as part of the SSA Retirement Research Consortium. The findings and conclusions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent the views of SSA, any agency of the Federal Government, or the NBER. There are no other relevant or material financial relationships with respect to this paper.
Kevin S. Milligan
Conflict of Interest Disclosure
April 9, 2012
This document attempts to disclose completely my potential conflicts of interest, using the principles circulated by the American Economic Association on January 5, 2012.
Item (2): Sources of support:
“Each author of a submitted article should identify each interested party from whom he or she has received significant financial support, summing to at least $10,000 in the past three years, …”
The following corresponds to the calendar years 2009-2012. Below is a complete listing of sources of support that exceed $10,000. For several of these, a grant flowed through a research organization. I have tried to list both the research organization and ultimate source of the funds.
1. University of British Columbia: salary. (2009 2010 2011 2012)
2. Simon Fraser University, Centre for Education Research and Policy: visitor stipend. (2009)
3. National Institute on Aging / National Bureau of Economic Research: stipend for International Social Security project. (2009 2010)
4. Prairie Research Associates / Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: consulting on National Child Benefit. (2009 2010)
5. Canada West Foundation / Western Economic Diversification Canada: stipend for paper on taxation. (2009)
6. Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics: teaching stipend. (2009)
7. Research Working Group on Retirement Income Adequacy in support of the Council of Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Finance Ministers: stipend for paper. (2009)
8. National Bureau of Economic Research / Social Security Administration: stipend for paper. (2010 2011)
9. Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network / Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: stipend for paper. (2009)
10. Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada: Standard Research Grant. (2009 2010 2011)
11. National Bureau of Economic Research / Sloan Foundation: stipend for paper. (2011)
12. Canadian Tax Foundation: funding for conference. (2011)
13. Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network / Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: Research grant for papers on retirement. (2010 2011 2012)
Item (3): relevant paid or unpaid positions:
“Each author should disclose any paid or unpaid positions as officer, director, or board member of relevant non-profit advocacy organizations or profit-making entities.”
The following list covers activities in the years 2009-2012:
1. Economic Advisor to ‘Smart Tax Alliance’ during referendum on Harmonized Sales Tax. (Unpaid) (2011)
2. Editor, Canadian Tax Journal. (Paid) (2011 2012)
3. Associate Editor, Canadian Public Policy. (Paid) (2009 2010 2011)
4. Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Economics. (Unpaid) (2009)
5. Associate Editor, Journal of Pension Economics and Finance. (Unpaid) (2011 2012)
6. Academic Director, British Columbia Interuniversity Research Data Centre (Unpaid; teaching release). Funded by UBC/UVIC/SFU/UNBC/SSHRC/CIHR. (2009 2010 2011 2012)
7. President and sole shareholder of KAYEMM CONSULTANCY INCORPORATED, through which some of the above funds have been received. (2010 2011 2012)
8. Board of Directors, Wesley Place Ltd., Vancouver BC. (Unpaid) (2012)
9. Board of Directors, National Tax Association. (Unpaid) (2011 2012)
Item (4): disclosure for close relative or partner
I had no domestic partner in the years 2009-2012.
1. Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research. (Unpaid) (2009 2010 2011 2012)
2. Research Fellow, C.D. Howe Institute. (Unpaid) (2009 2010 2011 2012)
3. Occasional contributor, Economy Lab, Globe and Mail. (Unpaid) (2010 2011 2012)
I hold shares in companies through broadly-diversified mutual funds and investment vehicles. I do not directly hold shares of any corporation (except for KAYEMM CONSULTANCY as noted above).
I am not a member of any political party at the municipal, provincial, or federal levels.
- Author(s): Kevin S. MilliganIn the U.S. and many other developed countries, increasing longevity and long-term fiscal imbalances in the social security system are...
"How is hardship avoided by those retiring before the Social Security entitlement age?" Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, forthcoming. citation courtesy of