401K: What works and doesn't!

Why It's Time to Retire the 401(k)


The idea that we could ever save enough to pay for 30 years of leisure is a relatively recent invention. An entire profession, financial planning, is dedicated to telling people they can, and must, pay for their own retirement. A 401(k) is usually a central part of those plans. Even for people who don't have enough money to send their kids to college or buy a home, building their 401(k), they are told, is their first priority. It's not terrible advice. The accounts grow tax-free, though you have to pay Uncle Sam's levy when you cash out. Unlike health coverage, you don't lose your 401(k) when you lose your job. And once you set the account up — a minor task at most companies — it's automatic, making it an easy, thought-free way to save. Indeed, Americans have more saved specifically for retirement than ever before. But the past year has shown that even with our added savings, we are at much greater risk today of our bank accounts running empty than when employer-guaranteed pensions were the norm. By Munnell's calculations, 44% of all Americans are in danger of going broke in their postwork years.

Comment: Employer-guaranteed pensions will never return! I wouldn't mind working past normal retirement age, in fact I would like to do that! But I sense that companies prefer younger people. And being a greeter at a big box store does not appeal to me!

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