The Impact of Changing Earnings Volatility on Retirement Wealth

Austin Nichols Melissa M. Favreault

WP#2008-14

Abstract

Over the last several decades, the volatility of family income has increased markedly, and own earnings volatility has remained relatively flat. Volatility may affect retirement wealth, depending on whether volatility affects accrued pension contributions or withdrawals or earnings credited toward future Social Security benefits. This project assesses the effect of the volatility of individual and family earnings on asset accumulation and projected retirement wealth using survey data matched to administrative earnings records.