Encyclopedia of Retirement and Finance

Encyclopedia of Retirement and Finance

Encyclopedia of Retirement and Finance  
Lois A. Vitt, Editor-in-Chief 

Consulting Editors:
E. Craig MacBean and Jurg K. Siegenthaler

Associate Editors:
Jamie Losikoff-Kent, Candace D. Jenkins, Mary Helen McSweeney, Julie Overton, Sandra L. Reynolds, M. Shelton Smith, Denise Talbot-White

Managing Editors: Ingrid Carlson, Jay Schweig

Introduction by: Dallas L. Salisbury

Forward by: Yung-Ping Chen.

ISBN: 0-313-32495-6

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The visibility of mid- to late-life finances as a major personal and national issue has increased significantly since the first edition of this Encyclopedia, was published in 1996 as the Encyclopedia of Financial Gerontology. Whether readers’ concerns are for the financial well-being of clients, colleagues, students, older relatives, or themselves, the times are vastly changed from just seven years ago. There is widespread uncertainty due to the changed nature of the country’s national security and economic priorities. Employers continue to seek answers to the pressing problem of escalating employee benefits, particularly health benefits. Workplace trends that shift both risks and costs to employees continue as well. There is an anxious new tone audible in the voices of thought leaders, policymakers, employers, and financial advisors, all of whom are calling on Americans to take more responsibility for their future personal finances.

Research suggests that Americans like feeling responsible for themselves and their loved ones. After all, about 90% of the nation’s infirm are cared for by family members. When they know what is expected of them, and when they are given the tools and the opportunity to become successful at whatever they undertake, Americans accept—and even seek—responsibility. Still, the sheer numbers of baby boomers who are aging into their retirement years is enough to ring alarm bells in every sector of the general economy, and most aging baby boomers today have neither the knowledge nor the savings required for successful retirement.

Americans today face changing trends and financial complexities unknown to their parents or grandparents. There is a bewildering array of decisions, planning goals, and choices to be made concerning work, health care, saving, investing, borrowing, family and intergenerational issues, plans for how to live in retirement, and plans even for approaching frailty and death. In short, Americans, in ever increasing numbers, must address financial issues that grow exponentially as people age in contemporary society. This revised and enlarged edition of the Encyclopedia was planned with these financial and social realities in mind.

This Encyclopedia is a multidisciplinary, authoritative, comprehensive, and readable mosaic of the financial topics, vehicles, services, advisors, costs, structures, programs, institutions, products, investments, issues, and social policies that impact nearly every aspect of people’s everyday lives. One thing is certain: Regardless of how much we think we know about the financial details of our approaching retirement and later years, we all could know a lot more. As a financial literacy educator, researcher, and advocate, I’ve seen the growing—and ubiquitous—hunger that Americans, at all ages and life stages have for greater financial knowledge and for the confidence to apply it competently. What I’ve learned as well is that everyone needs help in finding resources that enhance their comprehension of modern finances—from asset allocation to the U.S. Tax Code to reverse mortgages, from Medicare to health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to caregiving options, from investments to consumer protection to retirement planning, from credit scores to 401(k)s to investor education.
When asked by colleagues, students, friends, and other seekers of information about the finances of aging, I have directed them first to the Encyclopedia, which I have often used myself. My experience in consumer financial education during the past several years led to this revised edition, which has been expanded to include many additional topics about preretirement and retirement issues. Included in the new edition are entries that span the array of employer-sponsored health and retirement benefits, which are increasingly central to working Americans and to their partners and family members. There is a great need for this financial knowledge to reach the many professionals who advise, support, sell products to, serve, assist, and teach midlife and later-life clients. There is also a need for professionals and practitioners to help consumers themselves become educated about these topics.

Entries have been arranged to provide information at any alphabetical point. Readers are directed elsewhere by the references to other topics that appear at the end of each article. For teachers interested in using the Encyclopedia as a textbook, or advisors who are interested in specific life areas, a core set of articles under generic headings—e.g., “Advisors, Advice, and Support,” “Economic and Income Security,” “Employment, Work, and Retirement,” “Family and Intergenerational Issues,” “Financial Investments and Insurance,” “Health Care and Health Coverage,” and others—appear under “Core Topics” at the front of the book. Readers are also directed to Appendix C, Organizations and Resources, for the addresses, telephone numbers, and Internet addresses of the organizations referred to in many entries.

The contributions to this Encyclopedia have enriched these volumes with a breadth of research, knowledge, information, and perspectives on the finances of retirement and later life that have not before been collected into one reference. My debt to the Consulting Editors and to the Associate Editors who helped to weave the technical and varied language of many disciplines into a cohesive whole is gratefully acknowledged. Achieving this was a special challenge that was met so that professionals across the spectrum of aging and financial services, and consumers as well, could feel comfortable with the array of some otherwise difficult topics. Ingrid Carlson, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia, and Jay Schweig, who managed the details of the contributions before Ingrid, kept the lines of communication open and running smoothly between the authors, editors, and the Greenwood Publishing Group.

Special thanks are due to production manager Karen McMahon, for her dedicated and competent technical assistance, and to Ed McMahon, for his work on the comprehensive indexing that will help readers obtain maximum benefit from this Encyclopedia. My friends at Greenwood Publishing Group, who originally proposed the encyclopedia pro- ject, remain committed to the ideal of a public with the potential for becoming vastly more knowledgeable - and thus less anxious - about the financial issues of later life. We are all in their debt.

Lois A. Vitt
Middleburg, VA



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