Scrambled Nest Eggs

Pensions vs. 401(k)s: What’s the difference? A quick primer.

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since 1975, companies have gone from contributing more than 90 percent of their workers’ retirement funds to pitching in less than half. How? Mostly by switching from “defined benefit” pension plans to 401(k) and similar “defined contribution” accounts. In such a shift, employees typically lose about one-third of their benefits. Some other key differences:

Pension vs 401(k)

Company assumes risk of investing

In addition to wages

Benefit depends on your salary, work history

Guaranteed by federal government

Employer pays fees and expenses

Company must contribute unless plan shut down

Employee assumes risk

Taken out of wages

Benefit depends on stock market

No guarantee

Employee pays

Company can suspend contributions
at will

 

1983 vs 2007

Percentage of workers with retirement plans who had:

Scrambled Nest Eggs Pie Charts

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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