Bailey Childers is executive director of the National Public Pension Coalition. In this Quick 5 interview, she talks about the retirement crisis in the U.S.
More than 200 days into Donald Trump’s presidency, we now have a clear answer on whom his administration will serve: Wall Street and corporations. Gone are his promises from the campaign trail to help struggling American families. At every opportunity, his administration has rolled back any small progress that’s been made over the last few years to help Americans prepare for retirement.
If you’re reading this article, there’s about a fifty percent chance you are not offered a retirement plan through your current employer. That’s according to studies from the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) and Pew, which estimate that almost half of working Americans do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
For a decade now since the Great Recession, special interests have waged a false-information campaign against public pensions. While not all of the motives are clear, one thing is certain: if the over $3.8 trillion in assets managed by state and local pension funds were converted into individual 401(k)-style accounts, someone on Wall Street would stand to reap enormous financial benefit.
The June 19 editorial “A smart step on pensions” said Pennsylvania’s new law on pensions would give most new state employees a choice of “three retirement savings options similar, in varying degrees, to the defined-contribution plans common in the private sector.” But two of the options are based on a defined-benefit model with a 401(k)-style defined-contribution component. These plans are not similar to the 401(k) option common in the private sector.
I remember those first few real paychecks when I got out of college. It felt like I had all the money in the world! I got a cheap apartment near the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, I could go out with my friends after work, even take weekend trips down to DC every now and then. Soon though, reality set in: I had a load of student loan debt to deal with. Another important reality hit me several years later: I also needed to save for retirement.