A new report from the Society of Actuaries looks at envisioning new retirement systems for the 21st century–systems that could meet the needs of baby boomers as well as all future retirement needs, without generational limitation.
The report, Building the Foundations for New Retirement Systems, is a compilation of insights from the first conference of “Retirement 20/20,” an initiative of SOA’s Pension Section Council. The conference was held in September 2006.
Retirement 20/20 is asking, “if we wipe the slate clean, what needs to change” in order to introduce that flexibility, says Emily Kessler, staff fellow-retirement system solutions for the SOA, Schaumburg, Ill., and author of the report.
For instance, people are living longer and working longer, and family structures are changing, Kessler notes. One problem is that existing retirement systems do not “self-adjust” to reflect such changes. The 20/20 conference found that systems need to be flexible in how and when benefits are paid, and to adjust as workers change, she writes in the report.
The retirement system would likely be more affordable if it did that, she tells NU.
The retirement industry needs to start a “different conversation,” she maintains. “We need to think about what we need to do” to address the changes. What is new is that retirement experts are recognizing this need, she says.
If the industry doesn’t take care of the boomers, that will hurt society for a long time, she predicts. “If we don’t achieve this goal now, we’ll pay for it later.”
The boomer demographic, especially the late boomer demographic, will benefit from such changes, Kessler predicts.