Review: Americans’ retirement benefits slashed by a quarter

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Preparing for retirement is hard. Especially as employer contributions have gone down over time. Since 2001, employer retirement benefit spending (pension and 401(k) contributions, as well as retiree health care) have dropped from 9.1 percent of worker pay to 6.8 percent of worker pay in 2015. (This is a 25 percent drop, but it’s not quite as dramatic as the headline makes it out to be since it’s spaced over 15 years.) During that time we’ve seen defined benefit pension plans all but disappear – employer spending on them has dropped to less than 1 percent of worker pay. It’s all on you now. What’s interesting is that health care (read health insurance) spending for current employees has increased more than retirement benefits have decreased. As of 2015, health care spending for current employees represents nearly two-thirds of all benefit spending. This means that you need to take charge of your own retirement planning. You are largely on your own. There’s a lot that goes into preparing for retirement, and it goes (far) beyond just throwing money at your 401(k) and IRA (though there are worse places to start). To find out what issues you should be thinking about, read […]

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