His argument is buttressed by this long and important story in the New York Times, putting the lives are real retired or should-be retired people who have to keep working if they want to survive.
Some delay retirement because they are still healthy and love to work. But many put it off instead because their 401(k)’s are so puny, or because their medical bills, even with Medicare, are so high. Or some delay because their stock portfolios haven’t fully recovered from Wall Street’s swoon five years ago, despite new highs set on the stock market last week — nominal records spurred by low-interest-rate policies that have at the same time hurt retirement savings. [...]Making Social Security work once again to provide secure retirements isn't the only answer. Making wages liveable again, so saving money is even possible for working people is imperative. Of course, actually having a job is pretty critical, too. Job creation, just for a start, should me a much, much higher priority right now than the deficit and cuts to social insurance programs.
While retirement has assumed myriad forms across the country, many economists and other experts on retirement see some common, increasingly worrisome trends. A growing number of workers are convinced they will not have a comfortable retirement. A Boston College study in October found that 53 percent of Americans were “at risk” of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living once they retire, up from 30 percent in 1989. A study last May by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 44 percent may not have enough money to meet their basic needs in retirement.
It is well known that many workers live paycheck to paycheck and find it hard to save much for retirement. A result is that one-third of retirees in the United States rely solely on Social Security, with benefits averaging just over $15,000 a year for an individual and $30,000 for a couple. [...]
Most American workers with 401(k) plans save far too little to assure an adequate retirement. The Federal Reserve found that the typical household with workers aged 55 to 64 had a combined $120,000 in 401(k)’s and Individual Retirement Accounts. If that amount were used for an annuity, it would pay out only $6,000 or so a year. Added to the average Social Security benefit, that would come to just $21,000 a year in retirement income for an individual, or $36,000 for a couple with both receiving Social Security.