Friday, June 23, 2017

Savings and Retirement Forum with Mark Warshawsky

Join us June 28 For a Lunch Meeting with Guest Speaker:

Mark Warshawsky

Senior Fellow, Mercatus Center

Who will discuss his new paper:
Retire on the House
The Possible Use of Reverse Mortgages to Enhance Retirement Security
June 28, 2017
Noon-1:00 p.m.
The Tax Foundation
9th Floor
1325 G St. NW
Washington, DC
(Lunch will be provided)

Mark Warshawsky is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University.  He is a co-author of the Fundamentals of Private Pensions, Ninth Edition (Oxford University Press, 2010) and author of Retirement Income: Risks and Strategies (MIT Press, 2012).  From 2006 to 2013 he was director of retirement research at Towers Watson, a global human capital consulting firm.   He was a member of the Social Security Advisory Board from 2006 through 2012 and was vice chairman of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care in 2013.  Warshawsky received a PhD in economics from Harvard University and a BA with highest distinction from Northwestern University.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

CRFB: Trump Budget Includes Meaningful SSDI Reforms

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget gives a run-down of the Social Security disability reforms included as part of the Trump administration's budget proposal. While the CRFB isn’t positive on Trump’s overall budget or even the parts limited to disability, they argue that policymakers shouldn’t dismiss the disability proposals out of hand.

The budget includes a number of proposals for changing SSDI's benefits and eligibility process aimed at reducing inequities and possible overlapping payments. The budget also calls for testing several new strategies aimed at improving the labor force participation of SSDI beneficiaries. Altogether, these reforms would likely close one-quarter to one-half of SSDI's long-term funding gap.

Check out the whole article here.

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New paper: “The Upcoming Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ Reports: A Preview

Writing for the Bipartisan Policy Center, Charles Blahous and Robert Reischauer – who were until last year the two public trustees of the Social Security and Medicare programs – discuss the upcoming Trustees Reports for Social Security and Medicare:

The Social Security Act requires that the boards of trustees of the several Social Security and Medicare trust funds report annually to the Congress on the recent and future operations of the trust funds. More specifically, the act requires that the trustees report on the “operation and status” of the trust funds during the preceding fiscal year as well as the next few years. The act also requires that the reports contain statements of the actuarial status of the trust funds, which the trustees have traditionally measured over a seventy-five year projection period. With respect to Social Security, the trustees are also required to issue a finding as to whether its trust funds are in “close actuarial balance.” The 2016 reports found that both the Social Security Federal Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund and the Medicare Federal Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund failed the trustees’ test of short-range financial adequacy while Social Security’s Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund failed their test of long-term adequacy. In short, the trust funds will eventually be depleted if lawmakers do not take corrective action.

Check out the whole article here.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New papers from the NBER

Social Security and Saving: An Update by Sita Slavov, Devon Gorry, Aspen Gorry, Frank N. Caliendo - #23506 (AG PE)


Typical neoclassical life-cycle models predict that Social Security has a large and negative effect on private savings. We review this theoretical literature by constructing a model where individuals face uninsurable longevity risk and differ by wage earnings, while Social Security provides benefits as a life annuity with higher replacement rates for the poor. We use the model to generate numerical examples that confirm the standard result. Using several benefit and tax changes from the 1970s and 1980s as natural experiments, we investigate the empirical relationship between Social Security and private savings and find little to support the strong predictions from the theoretical model. We explore possible reasons for the divergence between theoretical predictions and empirical findings.

Planning for Retirement? The Importance of Time Preferences

by Robert L. Clark, Robert G. Hammond, Christelle Khalaf, Melinda Sandler Morrill - #23501 (AG)


Ensuring retirement income security is a priority for individuals, employers, and policymakers. Using merged administrative and survey data for public sector workers in North Carolina, we explore how workers' characteristics and preferences are associated with planning and saving for retirement. We then assess the "quality" of a retirement plan and whether retirement behavior is consistent with

these plans. The findings indicate that the way that individuals

discount future consumption is associated with the extent of their retirement planning and preparedness. We find that individuals who engage in retirement planning are better prepared to meet their retirement goals upon leaving their career jobs.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Upcoming event: “Using Tontines for Retirement Income”

Jonathan Forman
Alfred P. Murrah Professor of Law
University of Oklahoma

Who will discuss his paper:
“Using Tontines for Retirement Income”
Wednesday June 21, 2017
Noon-1:00 p.m.
Location: Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20001-5403
(Lunch will be provided)

Forman (“Jon”) is the Alfred P. Murrah Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma, where he teaches courses on tax and pension law and writes about retirement policy. 

Background on Tontines

In a simple tontine, a group of investors pool their money together to buy a portfolio of investments, and, as investors die, their shares are forfeited, often with the entire fund going to the last surviving member.  For example, in an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H, Colonel Sherman T. Potter, as the last survivor of his World War I unit, got to open the bottle of cognac that he and his buddies brought home from France (and share it with his Korean War compatriots).
The ttontine principle—“that the share of each, at her death, is enjoyed by the survivors” —can be used to design financial products that would benefit multiple survivors, not just the last survivor. Unlike traditional defined benefit plans, these tontines would always be fully funded; and, unlike annuities, these tontines could be run by low-cost mutual funds rather than high-cost insurance companies.

Click here to RVSP.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Upcoming Event: “Small Businesses & Retirement Readiness: Vermont Embraces a Multiple Employer Plan Approach”

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Join us for a free webinar:

Small Businesses & Retirement Readiness:
Vermont Embraces a Multiple Employer Plan Approach

DATE: Wednesday, June 7, 2017
TIME: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET

States are leading the way by developing innovative new approaches to helping more small businesses and private sector workers save for retirement. One of these approaches is through the establishment of a multiple employer plan (MEP). Vermont will be the first state to offer a MEP to small businesses and workers as an option to help increase retirement savings.
But what is a MEP? What are the advantages of a MEP?
During this one hour webinar, panelists will provide an overview of the challenges facing small businesses today, why Vermont has chosen to establish a MEP, and some of the considerations for the design and operation of a state-facilitated MEP.

Our Panel:

  • The Honorable Beth Pearce, Treasurer, State of Vermont
  • Matt Birong, Owner, 3 Squares CafĂ©, Vergennes, Vermont
  • David Morse, Partner, K&L Gates LLP
  • Wendy Young Carter, Vice-President, Public Sector, Segal
  • Barb Van Zomeren, Senior-Vice President, Ascensus


  • Angela M. Antonelli, Executive Director, Georgetown Center for Retirement Initiatives

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Upcoming Event: “Reviewing the Evidence: What Works in Disability Employment Services”

Reviewing the Evidence: What Works in Disability Employment Services

Jun 22, 2017 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

The growing evidence base on disability employment services has given policymakers and administrators an opportunity to either scale up and replicate services that work or to stop supporting those that do not. On June 22, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time,Mathematica’s Center for Studying Disability Policy (CSDP) will host a live webinar featuring a panel of experts from Mathematica who will discuss the emerging evidence on promising employment interventions. Our speakers will present findings from recent studies of the following:

  • Support from state vocational rehabilitation agencies for the postsecondary education of transition-age youth with mental health conditions
  • The Job Corps program’s potential to (1) improve employment outcomes for adults with disabilities who participated in the program when they were young and (2) reduce their reliance on disability benefits
  • Early impacts of a state vocational agency intervention on Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries


  • Craig Thornton, Moderator
  • Priyanka Anand
  • Heinrich Hock
  • Gina Livermore
  • David Stapleton, Discussant

Click here to register.

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