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The Predictable SurpriseUnraveling the U.S. Retirement System$
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Sylvester J. Schieber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199890958

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199890958.001.0001

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Some Good News … or Not

Some Good News … or Not

(p.172) 17 Some Good News … or Not
The Predictable Surprise

Sylvester J. Schieber

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines issues concerning employer-sponsored pension plans. By the late twentieth century, the employer-sponsored retirement system was becoming an increasingly larger slice of the retirement pie. When Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 1974, Social Security delivered $57.6 billion in benefits, while private-sector defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans delivered only 22.5 percent of that amount—slightly less than $13 billion. But private retirement programs gained steadily and, by 2000, were paying out benefits worth two-thirds of those provided by Social Security. While opinions might vary about the private retirement system’s delivery of retirement benefits and contribution to household savings, there is wider agreement about how the system affects retirement patterns. This chapter also discusses the implications of retirement patterns on retirement plans.

Keywords:   employer-sponsored pension plans, retirement system, retirement, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Social Security, defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, retirement benefits, household savings, retirement plans

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