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« Death from above | Main | Keep me posted »

Feb 06, 2013


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Perhaps our government should consider replacing 401K's with a defined a defined benefit.


Happy that my 401k is with T. Rowe Price after reading the link.

Younger people I know (mid 30s) neglect thier 401ks in order to pay for the 30 year $250+ mortgage and BMW X5 lease payment.

I'm sorry they'll regret this when they can't afford retire at 70, but why should I be forced to jeopardize being able to pay for my children's college tuition because someone else lived beyond thier means?


That should read $250K+ mortgage


The government could take all the private 401k money. Then over the next 30 plus years spend it on various pork projects. Just replace it with some sort of IOU backed by future taxes on our children/grandchildren. Now that's a plan!

That should read $250K+ mortgage

Me too.

Only one "a defined"
Perhaps our government should consider replacing 401K's with a defined benefit.


Bill, that would be a defined benefit.

Fred Gregory

We Had To Tax The Retirement Plan In Order To Save It

"Duncan (He can't be Sirius) Black, the econ degree holder formerly known as Atrios, explains in USA Today that baby boomers face a retirement crisis which can only be solved by raising both taxes and Social Security benefits.


Finally, we are treated to a long exposition explaining that college grads and advanced degree holders are burdened with debt, so how can anyone be expected to save for their own retirement? The suggested answer is to raise taxes on someone else.

One might think that focusing on policies that promoted growth and employment would be the way to secure our future, but evidently, taxing the rich is the only way forward. In Atrios' world.

To be fair, this is a dreadful time to be retiring, with both housing prices and 401(k)s wiped out by the Great Recession. But raising Social Security benefits and taxes indiscriminately and forever is an overreaction, and a misdirected one.""

David Hoggard

Agree completely, Fred


The point of the article is to convince others that 401K's are a failure despite the fact that there is $16 trillion real dollars being held in 401K retirement accounts.

How much is in the SS "lock box"?

The obvious solution to the problem of "failed 401K's" is to allow our government to balance its budget with that $16 trillion giving 401K holders in exchange the promise of a defined benefit.

Everyone's happy.

I would suggest to anyone with a 401K to begin rolling it over into an IRA. (Avoid the Roth unless you feel the immediate taxes incurred are worth the longer term gain of taxes saved.) It will take the money grabbers a little longer to get to IRA funds.


I had intended to include this link above. The information at the link indicates around $3.6 trillion in retirement funds rather than the $16 trillion mentioned above. Not sure now where I saw the $16 trillion:


The U.S. Treasury and Labor Departments will ask for public comment as soon as next week on ways to promote the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams, according to Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi and Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Iwry, who are spearheading the effort…

There is “a tremendous amount of interest in the White House” in retirement-security initiatives, Borzi, who heads the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, said in an interview.

Public comment...


Ah! This is where I got the $16T. I should have written $18T in retirement funds, $16T in national debt.


Ed Cone

Doesn't really matter if raising SS benefits is a terrible idea, or a great one (or if people read the column selectively to make it sound like a lament for the well-educated), as the post says, it ain't happening.

That means the problem remains: A lot of folks in this country have to be (or should be) wondering how they're going to pay their bills when they get old.


We do not have a national retirement scheme that can ensure that people have enough money to live a self-sufficient life after they retire. Social Security does not provide for that; if you live only on SS benefits you are poverty stricken. If you trust to a 401k, you are trusting your future to market actors who do not have your interests in mind.

Meanwhile, we are graduating our best and brightest, and everyone else, saddled with six-figure debt before they even think about buying a house.

Meanwhile, the right's dual-threaded chant -- don't tax me, and, if you aren't rich then screw you -- does nothing constructive while thwarting any rational discussion about alternatives.

The proposal to boost Social Security would make sense in a rational culture, one that values the ability of its people to live long and full lives. But, our society would rather see our money go to scammers and liars.


Yes indeed....prepare to watch all your tax advantages/strategies in IRAs, 401Ks, life insurance proceeds, and other assorted plum targets for plunder opportunities disappear, when Obama's presented with the bill to cover the unfunded pension liabilities of public sector and labor union member retirement plans.

The bill's coming due shortly.


What's wrong with the justcorbly attitude?

The people with who have access to their money, 401(k)ers, are being scammed.

The people who have no access to their money, whose benefits are potentially on the chopping block, who have little or no influence over their money, SS pensioners, are not being scammed, just shorted.

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