Source: Huffington Post

Many Americans are likely to have to work until they are dead, not as a result of Social Security shortfalls but because of their inadequate 401(k) savings or the fact that they have no retirement plan at all. This disaster has not dawned on the mutual fund companies that manage retirement assets, much less been debated on Capitol Hill. Given that the first wave of Boomers is scheduled to turn 65 in 2011, attention must be paid.

Here’s the raw deal in a nutshell: Unless you’ve got Chief and Executive in your job title — including “Ousted Disgraced CEO” — you are probably pension-poor, even if you earn a six-figure salary. That’s because only 11% of the private sector population is covered by a regular pension. Unlike during the postwar Fabulous Fifties and the Soaring Sixties when America was a “fortress economy” and almost half of the private sector was covered, currently even most employees of big companies can’t count on one. Only 17 of the Fortune 100 companies offer a traditional pension to new hires.

The 401(k) plan that has replaced pensions was meant to be the icing on a pension cake when it was created 30 years ago, not a substitute for a pension. While 401(k) plans have been criticized as risky, the more important failing is the typical stingy employer “matching contribution” equaling 3% of pay, the second lowest in the world. (There are some exceptions, universities typically contribute the equivalent of between 7 to 10% of pay.)

The rarely discussed rule of thumb for nest egg adequacy is that you need the equivalent of 10 times your “final pay,” or your salary near retirement, in your 401(k) AND rollover accounts. Unfortunately, most people will be lucky if they have a little more than “one time their final pay.” According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the median amount workers in that age group have saved is a mere $77,000 and the median salary for that age group is $61,000. What’s even worse is that 50% of the private sector population isn’t covered by any plan at all — pension OR 401(k).

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