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As the first generation of workers to depend primarily on 401(k) plans—rather than the increasingly rare defined-benefit pension—starts to retire, it is abundantly clear that the private retirement system is failing too many Americans. The typical near-retirement-age worker with a 401(k) has accumulated enough money to provide a monthly retirement payment of only about $575.Making matters worse, less than half of all workers even have a retirement plan at work, and that figure has been declining over the past few decades.
Americans, therefore, are deeply worried about their ability to retire, with half of all workers saying they are not confident they will have enough money for retirement.Indeed, the accounting firm Ernst & Young estimates that 59 percent of new middle-class retirees will outlive their retirement savings, while Boston College’s National Retirement Risk Index estimates that 51 percent of households are at risk of having an insecure retirement, meaning they will be unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living.
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