Income of Today’s Older Adults

As concern about the adequacy of the nation’s retirement income programs moves to the forefront of public debate, policymakers and the public are looking to statistics to argue for or against the need for reform. Because there is a wide range of data from a variety of sources, the statistics can be confusing. To help […]


Income from Other Sources

Older adults also receive income from other sources, such as earnings from work, assets, and public assistance. Income from Assets Older adults also receive income from savings accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts (such as 401(k)s and IRAs), and other investments. Income from assets takes the form of interest, dividends, rents and royalties. […]


Sources of Income for Older Adults

Today’s older adults typically have a number of sources of income. For most, the primary source of income is Social Security. Other sources are income from investments and other assets, pensions and other retirement plans, earnings from work and, for a small percentage, public assistance programs and veterans benefits. In 2021, over eight in ten […]


Income from Pensions

In 2021, pension benefits provided income to nearly one third of older adults. Below are some statistics on the median benefits received by older adults. Median Pension Benefit In 2021, one out of three older adults received income from private company or union pension plans, federal, state, or local government pension plans, or Railroad Retirement, […]


Income from Social Security

Nearly nine in ten older adults receives income from Social Security. Below are statistics on the benefits received by older adults, by average, median, and relative importance. Average Social Security Benefits In 2022, the average retiree received an estimated $19,896 a year in Social Security benefits. Couples in which both parties received benefits received $33,518 a […]


Why Pensions Are Important

This fact sheet explains the role pensions play in the overall retirement security of American workers, retirees, and their families. Pensions are Important to Retirement Security Social Security provides only a safety net. Average yearly Social Security payment: $18,605 Annual minimum-wage salary: $15,080 Average portion of pay Social Security replaces: 34.4% Most retirees have little […]


How Retirement Plans Can Fix Contribution Mistakes

Employers sometimes make mistakes when they put money into a 401(k), profit sharing plan or other defined contribution plan. If they correct the mistake by making a contribution to the plan, the contribution is called a QNEC or Qualified Non-Elective Employer Contribution. Here are some examples of a QNEC (pronounced cue-neck). Companies sometimes fail to […]


Common Questions about the Butch Lewis Act

1. What is the Butch Lewis Act? The Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act is legislation to help severely financially troubled multiemployer plans meet their benefit obligations to retired participants. It was included as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which President Biden signed into law on March 11, 2021. 2. […]


Retirement Savings Lost and Found Act of 2021

The bipartisan Retirement Savings Lost and Found Act of 2021 (S. 1730), reintroduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) on May 20, 2021, will make it possible for countless former employees to find their old employers and claim their retirement benefits. The legislation is aimed at solving a problem that affects many […]


What the Butch Lewis Act Will and Will Not Do

On March 11, 2021, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, President Biden signed the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Relief Act into law. The law will preserve and restore the pensions of more than one million retirees and workers in an estimated 200-225 severely underfunded multiemployer pension plans.[i] It is the result of many years […]


Income Received By Different Groups

For a clearer picture of the economic status of today’s older adults, it is helpful to look at breakdowns of statistics by age, marital status, gender, and race, in addition to looking at overall income figures. Sources for these figures can be found at the bottom of the page. Income Differences by Age In 2021, half […]


How Much Is Saved in 401(k)s

Increasingly, retirement savings plans have become the way American workers accumulate the money they will need to supplement their Social Security payments in retirement. The most common retirement savings plan is the 401(k). 401(k)s are offered by employers, but it is typically up to the employee to decide whether to participate and how much to […]