NU Online News Service, May 20, 5:05 p.m. – A researcher at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, is warning that it’s still not clear how the baby boomers are going to pay for retirement.

Many high-income U.S. residents are saving something for their later years, but plenty aren’t, according to Craig Copeland, an EBRI senior research associate.

When Copeland looked at newly released pension plan participation data from the U.S. Census Bureau, he found that, even among U.S. residents who were making at least $50,000 in 1993 dollars in 1998, 25% were not participating in a pension plan.

For those making less than $5,000 in constant 1993 dollars in 1998, the pension plan participation rate was only 13%, Copeland writes in a report on the census data.

Meanwhile, Copeland notes, even though pension plan participation rates are higher for 50-year-olds than for younger workers, participation rates actually decrease for workers over age 50.

In 1998, 60% of workers between the ages of 41 and 50 participated in pension plans, compared with 7% of the workers between the ages of 16 and 20. But the participation rate for workers over age 65 was only 23%.

Copeland says the nation has to get serious about planning for the retirement of the huge generation of workers born between 1945 and 1964.

“Even if Congress acts in the near future to close the Social Security funding deficit, the adequacy of retirees’ income remains a critical public policy issue, since Social Security was never meant to be the sole source of the elderly’s income in retirement,” Copeland concludes.