Post-financial crisis, retirement savings is on every Baby Boomers’ mind. Hit with the 2008 meltdown in markets, many Boomers, who are nearing the age of retirement, had 401k funds and other retirement savings decimated.
But the situation many Baby Boomers now unexpectedly face, is one the Equality Indicators team sees on the horizon for another group, low-income workers earning $30,000 or less. According to the NYC Equality Indicators study, 78.8% of workers (8 in 10) earning less than $30,000 a year indicated they did not have a retirement or pension plan. These low-income workers were compared with middle income-earners ($70,000-$100,000) who overwhelmingly are saving for retirement (9 out 10 workers in this group save while it is the minority who do not).
Retirement savings has also become a hot-button issue as companies cut pension plans. A recent report by the Center for Effective Government & Institute for Policy Studies found the retirement savings of 100 CEO’s equals the entire retirement accounts of 41% of U.S. families or more than 116 million people. The CE0-to-worker retirement gap is a lot bigger than the pay gap which is already an area under scrutiny as CEO’s compensation is largely set by boards and rarely attributed to tangible measurements of performance.
Groups like the AARP have launched informational campaigns to encourage workers to start planning for retirement by estimating how long they intend to work and by having monthly payroll deductions taken from their accounts.
But bridging the retirement gulfs between the lowest and highest earners may take more large-scale changes like increasing minimum wage or introducing a cost of living/inflation-indexed pay increase for all workers.