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Is The U.S. Retirement System Broken?

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels CC0: https://bit.ly/3bWTnKK
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels CC0: https://bit.ly/3bWTnKK

This show originally aired May 27, 2021.

On one hand, the pandemic is pushing more people into retirement. On the other, millions of Americans feel that they won’t ever be able to retire. Is our retirement system broken?

People are living and maintaining vitality longer, and preparing for retirement is increasingly difficult for middle-class workers.

Pensions are shrinking, people are saving less, housing and other long-term costs are increasing faster than wages and salaries, and there is the looming possibility of cuts to Social Security benefits that would disproportionately harm low-income retirees.

A new study by the World Health Organization reports that working long hours is an occupational health risk. For some Americans, working such long hours is the only way they'll be able to retire.

According to the WHO, people who work 55 or more hours a week have a 35% higher risk of having a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease compared to people who work between the standard weekly 35-40 hours.

What can be done to improve the status quo and help Americans — especially Americans of color — become more financially resilient, and prepare for and achieve a successful retirement at an appropriate age?

What can be done to improve retirement security for future generations? How will the next generations of older Americans fare in retirement relative to those who came before?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Thursday, May 27.

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