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EBRI Finds High-Income Older Residents Are Getting More Income From Working

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NU Online News Service, June 8, 1:15 p.m. – The Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, has published figures suggesting that high-income ”retirees” may be getting a little less of their income from pensions and savings, and more from earnings.

Ken McDonnell, an EBRI researcher, has used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to compile a table showing distribution of income sources for U.S. residents over age 65, for the period from 1974 to 1999, broken down by income.

Residents in the top fifth in terms of income earned at least $26,899 in 1999.

McDonnell found that 27.5% of their income came from wages, 25.9% from returns on regular savings and investment accounts, 23.8% from private pensions and annuities, 20.7% from Social Security, and 2.1% from sources such as veterans’ benefits and assistance from children.

The percentage of income coming from private pensions has increased from 18.8% in 1974, and the percentage coming from wages has fallen from 33.8% over the same period.

But the percentage coming from wages is up from a recent low of 21.3% in 1984, while the percentage coming from pensions is down from a recent high of 26.7% in 1994.