Salient to Investors:

The financial foundation of leading-edge boomers is stronger in the aggregate than commonly assumed, and is likely to improve in coming years.

A study by Alan Gustman at Dartmouth, Thomas Steinmeier at Texas Tech and Nahid Tabatabai at Dartmouth found that the inflation–adjusted wealth of people aged 53 to 58 in 2006 declined overall by a modest 2.8 percent by 2010, while the median household declined 4.3 percent.

The study found that early boomer homeowners had sufficient equity in their homes so that only 5 percent fell into negative housing wealth after the housing bubble burst.

A study by Barbara Butrica and Karen Smith at the Urban Institute, and Howard Iams at the SSA found that 57 percent of early boomer households replaced less than 100 percent of pre-retirement income. Most experts assume retirees need only 75 percent to 85 percent of pre-retirement income to maintain their standard of living before retirement.

The Urban Institute estimates retirement account balances at the end of 2012 were 9 percent above their peak value in 2001, but down 1 percent after inflation.

Today’s 65-year-old has the same mortality and health as a 54-year-old did in 1947.

Steve Utkus at the VanguardCenter for Retirement Research said high school dropouts, high school-only graduates, single moms, African-Americans, people who worked in low-wage jobs without benefits are most at risk in retirement.

Social Security benefits accounted for 30.2 percent of total wealth among early boomers in 2010, but 79 percent for those in the bottom fourth of wealth.

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