SOA Committee on Post-Retirement Needs and Risks Research

R. Dale Hall

The SOA Committee on Post-Retirement Needs and Risks has produced a number of reports and research projects on retirement risks. Highlights of the group’s most recent work include:

  • A research report by researchers at the University of Southern California on how Americans manage their finances. This survey investigates how the financial lives of Americans have changed with the economic recovery of the past few years and is an update to an earlier survey conducted in 2012.
  • A set of essays exploring the diverse risks associated with defined contribution plan risk management strategies, decumulation strategies for retirement and long-term care financing. Among these “diverse risk” essays is the first prize winner by R. Evan Inglis, titled “The ‘Feel Free’ Retirement Spending Strategy.” The essay reviews some practical advice on how much retirees might “feel free” to spend from an accumulated pool of assets, and also levels where retirees might be advised to spend “no more” in order to maintain retirement security. It’s also helpful that the essay notes other factors that should be considered when formulating a plan, such as the impact of using long-term care insurance and retirement income tax rates.
  • The staple of this set of work is the committee’s biennial Retirement Risk Survey. The most recent round of the survey was the eighth in the series. The purpose of the study is to evaluate Americans’ awareness of potential financial risks in retirement, how this awareness affects the management of their finances with respect to retirement, and how Americans are managing the process of leaving the workforce.
  • Growing the number of places where we can highlight SOA research beyond our typical industry meetings, webinars and other continuing professional development events. We were invited by The Economist to participate in its recent “Business of Longevity” series and provide collective insights on funding the future and rethinking retirement. It’s just one of many recent examples that highlight how the actuarial profession is viewed as bringing helpful, tangible solutions to managing retirement risks. You can see a wide variety of SOA research ideas referenced at the 16-minute mark in response to questions posed by Helen Joyce, international editor of The Economist. Topics range from SOA research being helpful in the valuation of pension plans to social retirement program considerations.
  • We additionally highlight a project by the Stanford Center on Longevity that the SOA co-sponsored. The project reviewed the findings of eight national, multiyear studies of more than 1.2 million Americans conducted over two decades to assess how well Americans are aging in light of increased longevity. Three items critical to well-being as people age—financial security, healthy living and social engagement—were identified and measured.

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