Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! As we do most weeks, we have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.

Here are this week’s top stories:

Who goes bankrupt in America? Increasingly, the elderly by Patti Waldmeir. 401(k)s don’t work. That is a point we here at NPPC have been making since our founding almost twelve years ago. In her piece, Waldmeir makes the argument that elderly Americans are increasingly finding themselves in poverty when they retire. This has happened for several reasons, but mostly due to the rise of the 401(k) as a retirement vehicle over defined-benefit pensions. Waldmeir writes, “After the Great Depression, the U.S. gradually built a financial safety net for retirees, based on Social Security payments to supplement company pensions or private retirement savings and Medicare to pay for most health care costs. But by the end of the last century, this ‘golden age’ of retirement security was largely over. Seniors who start Social Security payments before the age of 70 are heavily penalized. Most companies have switched to 401(k) retirement plans that fluctuate with the stock market, leaving retirees bearing all the risks…”

Teachers fire back after Bevin says they didn’t stop work during ‘vacation time’ by Valerie Honeycutt Spears. Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky has never been a supporter of public employees. In another misguided statement, Bevin made the assertion that public school teachers and employees didn’t protest HB1, the anti-pension bill passed during a special session in July, because they were on vacation. There was only one problem, though. The pension bill passed in July did not affect public school teachers or employees, rather quasi-government agencies, such as rape crisis centers and regional universities. In a statement by the Kentucky Education Association, they responded, “Based on his comments, we can only assume that Governor Bevin didn’t understand the pension legislation he and his staff wrote and dictated in detail to the General Assembly during the recent Special Session. Anyone who is familiar with that legislation knows that it was not the same bill educators protested a few months ago. Educators protest to influence governmental action that affects public schools and public school students, not to get out of work that they love and believe in. For the Governor to suggest otherwise is, unfortunately, typical.” Governor Bevin is up for re-election in November. 

Be sure to check back in two weeks for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!