Issues: Work and Retirement

Protecting the Middle Class: AARP Public Policy Institute


The AARP Public Policy Institute focuses on issues of critical importance as we age. Below we highlight research, analysis, background and commentary on Middle Class Security.


Recent Analysis

Access to Workplace Retirement Plans by Race and Ethnicity

Workers are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they have access to a payroll deduction savings plan at work. Yet nearly half of American private-sector employees—roughly 55 million—work for an employer that does not offer a retirement plan. Black, Asian, and Hispanic employees are less likely than White employees to be covered by a plan. They also strongly support efforts by states to create retirement savings programs for small-business employees whose employer does not already offer a plan. Read


Disrupting Aging in the Workplace: Profiles in Intergenerational Diversity Leadership

The AARP Public Policy Institute conducted a series of case studies of leading employers to examine programs and practices that address age diversity and the intergenerational workforce. Five companies from a variety of industries and of different sizes were selected for inclusion in the study: Huntington Ingalls Industries, UnitedHealth Group, Centrica, PNC, and AT&T. Interviews were conducted in February and March 2016 with human resources staff, diversity officers, and program managers. Read


Guaranteed Returns in Retirement Savings Plans: Are They Worth the Cost?

This report discusses investment guarantees that promise to deliver at least a certain level of return.  It also covers both the costs of such guarantees and their potential value to savers. Read


Preventing Exploitation: Five Banks Leading the Fight

In an effort to protect consumers and fight exploitation, AARP is spotlighting promising practices of financial institutions around the world. Read


Making State Retirement Plans Work for Private Employers: Including Lifetime Income Options

A state-sponsored retirement savings plan could help millions of private-sector workers who are not covered by an employer plan build financial security. Read


What Types of Costs Would a State-Sponsored Retirement Savings Plan Impose on Employers: A Case Study Using the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program

A state-sponsored retirement savings plan could help millions of private-sector workers who are not covered by an employer plan build financial security. Read


Family Financial Caregiving: Rewards, Stresses, and Responsibilities

This Insight on the Issues explores the experiences of a group of unpaid family financial caregivers to examine the challenges they face. Read


Testimony before the Oregon Retirement Savings Task Force

How to structure an effort to improve retirement savings opportunities for private sector employees.  Read


The Employment Situation, June 2014

The unemployment rate for older workers falls to 4.4%. Other indicators are improving as well. Read





About the Project: The AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) conducted a year-long, multidisciplinary exploration of the well-being of America’s middle class with a focus on prospects for financially secure retirement. The Middle Class Security Project offers insight, analysis and an agenda for policymakers to consider. The following reports provide findings from this project.



Uphill Climb for Women Seeking Retirement Security

Women live longer than men, have lower earnings, and are more likely to outlive some sources of retirement income.  Read


Building Lifetime Middle-Class Security

Major findings and policy recommendations from the Middle-Class Security Project. Read


New Ways to Promote Retirement Saving

Leading experts propose public and private sector reforms designed to help boost saving among low- and middle-income households.  Read


Sources of Income for Older Americans, 2012

Social Security remains the mainstay of retirement income for most older Americans. Read


Retirement Prospects of Middle-Class Americans

Many younger Americans will find it harder than their parents to maintain the living standards of their working years when they retire. Read


Income and Poverty Among Older Americans

Many older Americans continue to suffer financial setbacks from the Great Recession. Read


The Middle-Class Balance Sheet 1989-2010

Gains in net worth have been offset by rising debt, threatening long-term financial security. Read


Tracking the Decline: Middle-Class Security in the 2000s

A new tracking index shows declining security for working-age middle-income families. Read


What Has Happened to Middle-Class Income?

Median income in 2011 was lower than it was in 1997. A look at what happened and why. Read


Older Americans and Credit Card Debt

A troubling picture of credit card debt near or in retirement. Read


The Impact of Rising Healthcare Costs

Rising health care costs are jeopardizing the health and financial security of middle-class families. Read


Loss of Housing Affordability

Housing costs threaten financial stability for many middle-class older adults. Read


Dealing with New Economic Realities

Older Americans in Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Tampa discuss their financial difficulties. Read



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Susan's Blog

Senior Vice President Susan Reinhard blogs about recent reports and topics such as caregiving and nursing. Read


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