Pension Crisis

Are traditional pensions becoming obsolete?


Many private pension plans won't be able to pay the benefits they have promised; they are underfunded by an estimated $450 billion. Even the federal agency that insures them is in the red $23 billion — and its shortfall could hit $142 billion in 20 years. The biggest pension failures have involved companies in struggling industries such as auto, steel and airlines — but even healthy corporations such as IBM, Verizon and Hewlett-Packard have recently frozen their pension plans. Congress is crafting legislation to make the nation's private pension system more stable, but many observers worry that tightening funding rules could lead more companies to drop their pension programs. It seems certain that more of the responsibility of saving for retirement will fall to individuals ...

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