How Should We Insure Longevity Risk in Pensions and Social Security?

Jeffrey R. Brown

IB#4

Introduction

As baby boomers approach retirement, individuals and policymakers are increasingly concerned about retirement income security. Thanks to dramatic advances in life expectancy over the last century, today’s typical 65-year old man and woman can expect, on average, to live to ages 81 and 85 respectively. Perhaps even more impressive, over 17 percent of 65-year old men and over 31 percent of 65-year old women are expected to live to age 90 or beyond. Most people would agree with President Clinton that increasing life expectancy is “something wonderful.” However, uncertainty about length of life carries the risk that individuals may outlive their resources and be forced to substantially reduce their living standards at advanced ages…