Retirement Security: Trends in Marriage, Work, and Pensions May Increase Vulnerability for Some Retirees

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The decline in marriage, rise in women's labor force participation, and transition away from defined benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution (DC) plans have resulted in changes in the types of retirement benefits households receive and increased vulnerabilities for some. Since the 1960s, the percentage of unmarried and single-parent families has risen dramatically, especially among low-income, less-educated individuals, and some minorities. At the same time, the percentage of married women entering the labor force has increased. The decline in marriage and rise in women's labor force participation have ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 5, 2014.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The decline in marriage, rise in women's labor force participation, and transition away from defined benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution (DC) plans have resulted in changes in the types of retirement benefits households receive and increased vulnerabilities for some. Since the 1960s, the percentage of unmarried and single-parent families has risen dramatically, especially among low-income, less-educated individuals, and some minorities. At the same time, the percentage of married women entering the labor force has increased. The decline in marriage and rise in women's labor force participation have affected the types of Social Security benefits households receive, with fewer women receiving spousal benefits today than in the past. In addition, the shift away from DB to DC plans has increased financial vulnerabilities for some due to the fact that DC plans typically offer fewer spousal protections. DC plans also place greater responsibility on households to make decisions and manage their pension and financial assets so they have income throughout retirement. As shown in the figure below, despite Social Security's role in reducing poverty among seniors, poverty remains high among certain groups of seniors, such as minorities and unmarried women. These vulnerable populations are more likely to be adversely affected by these trends and may need assistance in old age."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 5, 2014

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Retirement Security: Trends in Marriage, Work, and Pensions May Increase Vulnerability for Some Retirees, text, March 5, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301570/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.