Teresa Ghilarducci, "Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy" (U Chicago Press, 2024)


The issue of the future of Social Security, on which millions of Americans depend, produced great political theater at the State of the Union address. That highlighted a bigger problem of financing retirement as baby boomers seek to retire, often with limited resources. Many argue that the solution to the problem is for people to work longer. 

In Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy (U Chicago Press, 2024), Teresa Ghilarducci, a noted expert on retirement, argues that the "working longer" idea is wrong, unnecessary, and discriminates against people who work in lower wage occupations. Ghilarducci pushes for a national plan to finance retirement that would draw on contributions by both employers and employees to replace our privatized and ramshackle personal retirement system and make changes in the tax system that supports Social Security to give people a real choice whether to retire or continue to work in their later years. 

This book tells the stories of people locked into jobs later in life not because they love to work but because they must work. She demonstrates how relatively low-cost changes in the way we manage, and finance retirement will enable people in their so-called "golden years" to choose how to spend their time. Ghilarducci has a good public platform, writes for Bloomberg and other outlets, and is passionate about her ideas and reaching as broad a public as possible. The book is for the growing number of people in the public and policy community who are worried about their retirement and engaged in the renewed debate about Social Security and Medicare.

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Stephen Pimpare

Stephen Pimpare is Professor of Public Policy at Vermont Law and Graduate School.

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