You can’t really retire with a 401(k) alone
Play • 38 min

The vast majority of Americans lacked enough retirement savings even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, some older Americans are leaving the workforce and others have stopped contributing to retirement accounts because they can’t afford to. Just half of workers participated in a retirement plan at work in the first place, partly because employers are not required to offer 401(k)s or other retirement plans. So, where did these plans come from? And, are they actually helping people save? On today’s show, New School labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci walks us through the 40-year decline of retirement in this country, the incentive structures setting up Americans for failure and why there’s some reason for hope in the new presidential administration.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Ghilarducci’s first appearance on Marketplace in 2012

A brief history of the 401(k), which changed how Americans retire” from CNBC

The 401(k) is forty and fabulous” from Quartz

BLS data showing just half of private sector workers participate in a retirement plan at work

Few people are tapping 401(k)s, even without withdrawal penalties” from Marketplace

Nasdaq pushes diversity requirements for company boards” from the Washington Post

Don’t forget the other virus: How to keep COVID from reversing progress on AIDS” from Fortune

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