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Most Americans never had a pension plan. That is is nice liberal mantra, but not true.

Of those that did, many were locked in to jobs that they didn't necessarily like, but couldn't change jobs later in life because it would affect their 'retirement'. In many cases,you had to work 10 years before you were vested in a pension plan. if you changed jobs at age 4 or 50, you may or many not have gotten into the second employer plan ...if you lasted 10 years. worse, many plans gave you more credits in the last 10 years of your shifting jobs meant lower pension.

That was a nice through when folks had 'jobs for life'. That was 60-70-80 years ago....and a nice 'dream' that only happened for 20-30% of Americans.

All those self employed and mom and pop and small businesses never had pension plans. Period.


Yes, many companies went bust. But I think the Kodak folks got their pensions....and in most cases the Pension Guarantee fund picked up when companies failed. Up to $50,000 a year type pensions.

WorldCOM? WCOM ended its pension plan for nearly all employees, and only a teeny percentage maintained the pension plan. They did OK since the money was set aside. the company bought an annuity for you when you retired. I know many WCOM (MCI) types who retired and got full benefits. Not a horror story. The other 98% had their pension money rolled over into a special plan. It held company stock but you could see up to 50% of it by age 55..and nearly all did. It then contributed up to 6% match in 401K plans for employees.

Keep in mind the average 20 year old now changes jobs 3 times in the first 10 years of employment. They would never qualify for pensions these days. Folks job hop. A 401K usually starts within a year.

I got a very small pension from GE now....worked for them 13 years back in the 70s ......didn't take the money...left wasn't that much...maybe $10,000 cash balance. Now they pay me $5000 a year in pension from it.....not complaining. Started at age 60.

My 401k, now rolled over into an IRA, is well over mid six figures. I only contributed for about 14 years before I retired. Haven't had to touch it but will have to tap it in 2 years as I turn 70 1/2.

401K/IRA are great IF you actually invest in them.

Only public employees get pension plans these days and that has to change. No reason why they should not be using 401K type savings.

the 'legacy costs' and unknowns of future benefits for pensions is what did them in. That, and promising more and more today....without funding for the future is going to kill local and state budgets in the next 20-30 years ....states are already headed to bankruptcy and cities have filed for bankruptcy.

My dad had a pension (44 years Telco) . My mom worked 8 to 10 years at various jobs and never earned a vested pension. Go figure. That's the way it was.

My BIL worked 27 years for IBM. They retired him early at age 50 with a pension. Sister worked 9 years for IBM, 10 years for contractor. No pension. BIL worked another 10 years for contractor. No pension but nice 401K plan. He's happy with the money coming in.

the bad news is he got pancreatic cancer six months ago and has been undergoing chemo and radiation. The long term survival five year rate is 7%. He's my age. On Medicare.....and IBM pays for supplement. Having income is nice but having health is even more important.

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