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401(k)s are "underfunded" solely because most individuals choose not to contribute -- whereas under defined benefit plans, they're forced to.

More choices than just those two.

In a 401(k), it is the individual's responsibility to contribute to the compensation plan. Such contributions reduce the amount of take-home pay you get below what your salary would otherwise indicate.

In a "profit-sharing plan"/"money purchase plan", it is the corporation's responsibility to contribute, an amount based on the plan documents, the company's operating profits, and the employee's salary. But these contributions don't reduce the employee's salary.

A defined benefit plan (traditional pension) does require some contribution by the employee.

If you have a choice between otherwise equivalent jobs A, B, and C each paying around $40,000 per year, and the interviewer will not tell you which type of retirement plan the company has, which one do you pick? You can't be certain that the job offering you the lower salary also offers a better retirement plan. So you pick the company with the higher salary.
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