Saving for retirement after a financial crisis

    This is part of a series on aging in the Delaware Valley called “Gray Matters: New Tools for Growing Older” from the WHYY Health and Science Desk. The six-week series features audio and video stories as well as personal essays.

    The global financial crisis hit corporate and government pensions hard and exacerbated concerns about the future of the social security program. With 401(k)s attempting a shaky recovery, how should we be thinking differently about retirement than we did 10 or 20 years ago? 

    We asked Olivia Mitchell, professor of business economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Wharton Pension Research Council.

    “I think it’s going to be inevitable that people will have to take more responsibility for their own retirement,” Mitchell said.

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    Mitchell said with employer pension plans increasingly a thing of the past, it is up to employees to save more, spend less, and take greater responsibility for their own future. She advises her own children, in their twenties, to avoid retiring at all, but working at least until age 70 or 75.

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