Economic snapshot | Retirement

Retirement nest egg grows only for wealthiest

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A weekly presentation of downloadable charts and short analyses designed to graphically illustrate important economic issues. Updated every Wednesday.

Snapshot for May 29, 2002.

Retirement nest egg grows only for wealthiest
The 1990s saw an increase in overall retirement wealth. From 1983 to 1998, the retirement wealth for households headed by somebody near retirement (i.e., age 47 to 64) increased by an average of 4%. But by contrast, median retirement wealth fell by 11% for households near retirement age. The reason there is a disparity between average and median growth in retirement wealth is because most of the growth was concentrated among the already wealthy. In fact, for households that had $1 million in total wealth, retirement wealth grew from 1983 to 1998 by 41% in real terms. For all other households, retirement wealth declined. The group with the smallest decline – 11% – were households with real wealth between $500,000 and $1 million. In comparison, households with wealth between $100,000 and $250,000 saw their wealth decline by 33%.

Changes in retirement wealth, 1983-98

This week’s Snapshot by EPI economist Christian Weller.

Check out the archive for past Economic Snapshots.

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See more work by Christian E. Weller