The disappearing 401(k) and inequality

Published: Saturday, March 8 2014 11:07 p.m. MST

According to the Economic Policy Institute, personal savings retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, are failing those who need retirement funds the most.

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Companies are getting stingy with 401(k) plans, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, companies are making decisions to bolster their bottom line when in comes to their offering of 401(k)s, and it is going to hurt their rank and file employees who will depend upon that savings upon retirement.

There are mainly two ways that companies like AOL, JPMorgan Chase and many others are shrinking the retirements of their employees, according to Businessweek.

First, some are lowering the matching percentage on their matching plans. A matching plan usually consists of the employer matching a certain percentage of the employee’s gross annual revenue. The second options companies are choosing is to delay the matching payout, usually until the end of the year.

In addition, 401(k)s are making inequality worse, according to the Washington Post.

According to a new analysis from the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute, “The effect has been a stratification of retirement savings by education, income and race —which could deepen inequality among the elderly as the population ages.”

It goes on to say that younger people are saving at a slower rate than their parents and grandparents, which takes aim at declining wages based on inflation and a smaller job market in general.

The 401(k) “grand experiment” is a catastrophe, according to USA Today.

“Recent and near-retirees, the first major cohort of the 401(k) era, do not have nearly enough in retirement savings to even come close to maintaining their current lifestyles,” according to the article.

The 401(k) transition has been a “disaster, a disaster which threatens to doom millions to economic misery during the later years of their lives,” USA Today reported.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at:

eraymond@deseretdigital.com

@RaymondErik

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