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Pat Wechsler, Treasury & Risk: Do you believe the nation is prepared for the retirement of the so-called baby boom generation? Munnell: No. First, many boomers are likely to retire too young–around 62 or 63 when they will face an average of 20 years of living off their retirement savings. Married couples face the prospect of at least one member surviving until their mid-nineties, which translates into some 30 years of retirement. Second, our national retire-ment income system is contracting. Social Security benefits as a share of pre-retirement income are declining, given the higher full-benefit eligibility age to retire. Medicare premiums, which are deducted before Social Security checks go in the mail, will take an increasingly larger bite, and more benefits will be taxed under the federal personal income tax. That will leave boomers more dependent on 401(k) plans, and the typical boomer balance today is only $60,000.

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