Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy (Hardcover)

Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy By Teresa Ghilarducci, E. J. Dionne Jr. (Foreword by) Cover Image

Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy (Hardcover)


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A damning portrait of the dire realities of retirement in the United States—and how we can fix it.

While the French went on strike in 2023 to protest the increase in the national retirement age, workers in the United States have all but given up on the notion of dignified retirement for all. Instead, Americans—whose elders face the highest risk of poverty compared to workers in peer nations—are fed feel-good stories about Walmart clerks who can finally retire because a customer raised the necessary funds through a GoFundMe campaign.

Many argue that the solution to the financial straits of American retirement is simple: people need to just work longer. Yet this call to work longer is misleading in a multitude of ways, including its endangering of the health of workers and its discrimination against people who work in lower-wage occupations. In Work, Retire, Repeat, Teresa Ghilarducci tells the stories of elders locked into jobs—not because they love to work but because they must.

But this doesn’t need to be the reality. Work, Retire, Repeat shows how relatively low-cost changes to how we finance and manage retirement will allow people to truly choose how they spend their golden years.

Teresa Ghilarducci is professor of economics and policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York City. She serves as the director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis and the New School’s Retirement Equity Lab (ReLab). She also writes a regular column for Forbes’s #RetireWell blog.
Product Details ISBN: 9780226831466
ISBN-10: 0226831469
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: March 6th, 2024
Pages: 264
Language: English
"Ghilarducci presents a grim view of the current ominous realities of retirement in the United States and offers recommendations for improvement. . . She shares true stories of people locked into jobs not because they love to work but because they must, and her meticulous research analyzes how working longer does little to improve retirement security and inadequate pensions. . . This highly recommended book focuses on middle- and lower-income people who do not have millions in their retirement accounts and who are particularly concerned about the retirement possibilities that their children and grandchildren will have."
— Library Journal (starred review)

"Ghilarducci argues convincingly that how long people need to work is more about who has power in society than anything else."
— Peter Coy

"[Work, Retire, Repeat] examines the wide array of realities older adults face as they retire or find themselves working later in life. It’s a meaningful, engaging, and accessible book that deals with subject matter that will only increase in importance. . . . Written with passion, precision and prescription."
— Raymond A. Jetson

"America's retirement system is failing too many people. . . .Economist Teresa Ghilarducci, in her new (highly recommended) book discusses reform proposals, including several she co-authored. . .It's high time for at least one of these well-designed and affordable ideas to become law. . . .Ghilarducci offers a potential blueprint for action for policymakers and citizens."
— Chris Farrell

"Work, Retire, Repeat makes valuable points in assessing attempts to push back retirement for all Americans."
— City Journal

"Retirement inequality is on the rise and is causing anger and democratic resentment among working classes in many countries. This fascinating book puts the central issue of retirement inequality at the forefront of political discussion. A must read."
— Thomas Piketty | author of "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"

Work, Retire, Repeat shows the risks and decisions facing older workers today and the economic forces this complexity creates. Ghilarducci's analysis is packed with facts and original ideas for both change and how to live with today's system in the meantime. Work, Retire, Repeat may prove to be as influential as Stuart Chase’s 1932 book A New Deal."
— Robert Shiller | recipient of the 2013 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics

“Compared to workers in equally wealthy countries, Americans work much longer. We work more hours per week, take fewer vacations, and look ahead to a late, financially insecure retirement. Ghilarducci convincingly and heartrendingly shows that so many of us who find ourselves unable to afford to retire didn’t plan for this, but rather find out after the fact that others had punched holes in the financial buckets we thought were being filled for our retirement.”
— Brad DeLong | author of "Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century"