Fewer employers today provide defined-benefit pensions for their workers—and among those that do, many are offering “defined-contribution” (like 401[k]s) rather than traditional “defined-benefit” pension plans.
That’s why Social Security insurance is essential for millions of retirees. Nearly two-thirds of retirees count on Social Security for half or more of their retirement income and for more than three in 10, Social Security is 90 percent or more of their income. It is a safety net that keeps retirees out of poverty.
It’s also important to figure out what you will need to retire. Talking a look at how much Social Security will provide, whether you have another form of pension and how much you spend are all components in determining when you can retire.
For decades, workers achieved retirement security because their retirement income flowed from a combination of employer-provided pensions, Social Security and personal savings. But the recession has exposed the severe deficiencies in our retirement system. We need to develop a new way to provide workers with lifetime retirement security beyond Social Security.
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As we prepare to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Labor Day as a federal holiday, it's important to reflect on who we are as working people, what we’ve achieved together, and the challenges that lie ahead.
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