Friday, April 19, 2019

Conference Call The Financial Future of Social Security: Highlights from the Trustees' 2019 Reports

Conference Call
The Financial Future of Social Security: Highlights from the
Trustees' 2019 Reports

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Dial-in information provided upon registration

Stephen Goss | Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration
Charles Blahous | J. Fish and Lillian F. Smith Chair and Senior Research Strategist, Mercatus Center, George Mason University; Former Public Trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds
Robert Reischauer | Distinguished Institute Fellow and President Emeritus, Urban Institute; Former Public Trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds

Moderated by:
Marc Goldwein | Senior Vice President and Senior Policy Director, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Kathleen Romig | Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Next week, the Boards of Trustees for the Social Security Trust Funds will release their annual report on the financial challenges facing the two program. This report is a critical benchmarks for policymakers and the public to understand the state of the trust funds. Their financial futures are critical to the millions of people who pay billions in taxes into the funds and use Social Security as the foundation for a secure retirement.

The Funding Our Future campaign invites you to join us for this call as we host the chief actuary for Social Security and the former public trustees for Social Security and Medicare to discuss key takeaways from the 2019 Social Security and Medicare trustees’ reports.

Read more!

Social Security Advisory Board Conference on Microsimulation

Social Security Advisory Board

The Board Invites You to a Policy Forum on MINT Microsimulation

Based on your past work and interest in microsimulation, the Board is pleased to invite you to attend its upcoming policy forum “Informing Policy: A Review of Social Security’s MINT Microsimulation Model,” which will be held on May 30, 2019. A list of tentative speakers is provided below.

Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) helps policymakers understand the effects of changes to benefits and payroll taxes. The microsimulation model is built from Social Security's administrative records matched to the Survey of Income and Program Participation. It projects future retirement income, marital trends, Social Security benefits, income, and poverty as well as the effects of policy changes.

The event will bring together MINT users and microsimulation experts to discuss challenges and opportunities facing MINT and other such models and provide recommendations on MINT’s future development. Public participation will be welcomed.

The forum will take place from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm at the National Union Building located at 918 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004. Register to attend either in person or the live webcast here.

Tentative Speakers:

  • Andrew Biggs, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Rick Evans, Director, Open Source Economics Laboratory, University of Chicago
  • Eric J. (Rocky) Feuer, Chief, Statistical Research and Applications Branch, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute
  • Jagadeesh Gokhale, Director of Special Projects, Penn-Wharton Budget Model
  • Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration
  • Laura Haltzel, Research Manager, Income Security, Congressional Research Service
  • Kim Hildred, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board
  • Tom Klouda, Senior Domestic Policy Advisor, Committee on Finance, Democrat Staff, U.S. Senate
  • Kathryn Olson, Staff Director, Subcommittee on Social Security, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Kathleen Romig, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Mark Sarney, Acting Director, Office of Research, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, Social Security Administration
  • Amy Shuart, Republican Staff Director, Subcommittee on Social Security, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives (invited)
  • Jack Smalligan, Senior Policy Fellow, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute 
  • Karen E. Smith, Senior Fellow, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • C. Eugene Steuerle, Institute Fellow and Richard B. Fisher Chair, Urban Institute 
  • Julie Topoleski, Chief, Long-Term Analysis Unit, Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis Division, Congressional Budget Office
  • Bryan Tysinger, Director, Health Policy Microsimulation, University of Southern California Schaeffer Center
  • Mark Warshawsky, Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration
Read more!

New working papers from the Center for Retirement Research

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has recently released four working papers:

Is the Drop in Fertility Due to the Great Recession or a Permanent Change?
Alicia H. Munnell, Anqi Chen, and Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher
Will Fewer Children Boost Demand for Formal Caregiving?
Gal Wettstein and Alice Zulkarnain
The Relationship between Occupational Requirements and SSDI Activity
Matthew S. Rutledge, Alice Zulkarnain, and Sara Ellen King

How Does Contingent Work Affect SSDI Benefits?
Matthew S. Rutledge, Alice Zulkarnain, and Sara Ellen King

Read more!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

New paper: “Social Security Replacement Rates and Other Benefit Measures: An In-Depth Analysis”

The Congressional Budget Office has issued a comprehensive look at measuring “replacement rates” for Social Security, a measure that compares Social Security benefits to pre-retirement earnings and serves as an indicator of the adequacy of retirement benefits.

CBO’s paper might be a bit of a deep dive for those who haven’t looked at the issue before, and it doesn’t come out with a clear recommendation. But readers will at the least come to understand that how you measure retirement income adequacy is at least as important as the earnings and benefits that you measure.

Read more!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Upcoming event: “Can retirement plans provide safe income?” April 18

Running out of money in retirement is one of Americans’ greatest financial fears. Converting retirement saving balances into reliable income is one of the most complex financial decisions people must make. Most 401k and similar plans are not structured to provide lifetime income. Can retirement plans be reformed to provide safe income for the duration of retirees’ lives?

On Thursday, April 18, the Retirement Security Project at Brookings will host an event to explore ways to create lifetime income for people with 401k-type plans. Join Nobel laureate Richard Thaler and several other noted experts as they discuss new Brookings research.

Click here for more details.

Read more!

Friday, April 5, 2019

SSAB Technical Panel Meeting Agenda, April 12, 20919

2019 Technical Panel on Assumptions and Methods 
Meeting Agenda 
April 12th, 2019 

The meeting will be held in the offices of the Social Security Advisory Board: 400 Virginia Avenue SW, Suite 625, Washington DC 20024. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

  • 10:00am-11:30am Beneficiary and average benefit projections Office of the Chief Actuary, SSA 
  • 11:30am-12:30pm Labor force participation and employment projections Gary Burtless, Brookings Institution and member of the 2017 Labor Force Technical Panel 
  • 12:30pm-1:00pm Lunch 
  • 1:00pm-2:30pm Economic assumptions and methods: Interest rates, real wage growth components Louise Sheiner, Technical Panel member
Read more!

Friday, March 15, 2019

New issue brief: “How Much Would It Take?”

EBRI Issue Brief

How Much Would It Take? Achieving Retirement Income Equivalency Between Final-Average-Pay Defined Benefit Plan Accruals and Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans in the Private Sector

Feb 7, 2019, 22 pages

by Jack VanDerhei


  • A rapidly growing public policy concern facing the United States is whether future generations of retired Americans, particularly those in the Baby Boomer and Gen X cohorts, will have adequate retirement incomes. There have been several policy studies in recent years that suggest that the decreasing relevance of defined benefit (DB) plans relative to defined contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans) since the 1980s will have a negative impact on the percentage of future retirees who will achieve a specified level of retirement income adequacy.
  • Previous EBRI research reported on a comparative analysis of future benefits from private-sector, voluntary enrollment (VE) 401(k) plans and stylized, final-average-pay defined benefit plans.
  • The current research expands the previous research by computing the actual final-average DB accrual that would be required to provide an equal amount of retirement income at age 65 as would be produced by the annuitized value of the projected sum of the 401(k) and IRA rollover balances under automatic enrollment (AE) 401(k) plans.
  • Assuming historical rates of return as well as annuity purchase prices reflecting average bond rates over the period from 1986 to 2013, the analysis shows that:
  • For males, defined benefit “break-even” rates — or the percentage accrual rate that would be required in order for a DB plan to generate the same retirement income that is projected to come from 401(k) plan participation for a given worker cohort — are rarely less than 1.5 percent of final pay: in only 2 of the 16 combinations of wage quartiles and years of plan eligibility for males are defined benefit “break-even” rates less than 1.5 percent of final pay per years of service.
  • In the case of females, only 5 of the 16 combinations have “break-even” rates under 1.5 percent.
  • When these findings are subjected to the scrutiny of various “stress tests” both by reducing the rate of return assumptions by 200 basis points as well as utilizing current annuity purchase prices, results show that in many cases the AE 401(k) plans lose their comparative advantage to the stylized, final-average DB plans, especially for lower-paid employees as demonstrated by the lower “break-even” accrual rates.


Read more!