Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment

An increase to a wage, salary, or pension designed so that the real value remains the same. That is, a cost-of-living adjustment increases the underlying wage, salary, or pension so that it keeps pace with (but does not run ahead of) inflation. Federal pensions and Social Security include cost-of-living adjustments, though few other pensions do.

Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

A COLA results in a wage or benefit increase that is designed to help you keep pace with increased living costs that result from inflation.

COLAs are usually pegged to increases in the consumer price index (CPI). Federal government pensions, some state pensions, and Social Security are usually adjusted annually, but only a few private pensions provide COLAs.


(pronounced like the beverage) See cost-of-living adjustment.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Publications portion of the site lists journal articles, technical reports, and conference papers on a breadth of topics, all prepared by COLA scientists.
Anyone considering the purchase of long-term-care insurance should buy the lifetime 5% compound COLA benefit, regardless of issue age.
It is estimated that one-half of current federal pension costs are due to COLAs, and that hundreds of thousands of federal retirees actually receive more money in retirement than they did while working.
While you're at it, you might want to sample Tab Clear--Coca-Cola's answer to the clear cola craze--which is being test-marketed in selected cities as we sip.
However, these and other researchers say they don't recommend excessive swilling of cola or any other carbonated drink.
Active teenage girls who drink colas are more likely to break a bone than active girls who don't drink colas, says a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health.
According to Pepsi, the red, white and blue is back, with 38% of the cola market (compared with 78% in early 1996).