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Many Workers Will Face Retirement Shortfall: GAO


For all of the talk about the importance of saving for retirement through a 401(k) and other savings plans, 37% of those born in 1990 and just now entering the workforce will have no savings by the time they leave the workforce, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. As a group, those retiring in the 2050s will have only saved enough money to replace 22% of their pre-retirement income.

Those who earn low salaries are particularly in danger of not being prepared for retirement, not just because they lack the funds to set aside but because the preferential tax treatment for contributions is not likely to persuade them to save.

Defined contribution plans present "major challenges" for workers, the GAO report said. "While some workers save significant amounts toward their retirement in [DC] plans, a large proportion of workers will likely not save enough for a secure retirement. Many of these workers face competing income demands for basic necessities that may make contributions to their retirement plans difficult."

The GAO issued the report at the request of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. "Today's workers will more likely struggle to make ends meet during retirement than previous generations," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). "While Social Security faces challenges, this GAO report makes it clear that the real retirement security crisis is the lack of savings in private plan[s]."

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