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FWIW, very few companies offered 401Ks when they "started to be come available" (which would have been 30 years ago according to your calcs). Most companies got on board in the late 80's, and some not until the early 90's. My company didn't offer one until 1990 (when I was 40, not 25).

That leaves a lot less time to accumulate funds.

That leaves a lot less time to accumulate funds in a tax-deferred account.

There is no reason that all those folks who did not have access to a 401k in the earlier years couldn't be saving in a taxable account. That's what I did, and when I finally had access to a 401k, I started saving there as well, but one certainly does not preclude the other.
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