The Growing Challenge of Funding Retirement (U.S. News & World Report)

The rules for retirement have changed over the past generation. Individuals must now take more personal responsibility for their retirement finances, as life expectancies increase and job security declines. Employer retirement benefits have become less generous over the past several decades, with 401(k)s and other similar retirement plans replacing the traditional defined-benefit pensions that have historically offered retirees a steady source of income. And, while private-sector traditional pensions are typically insured by the federal government up to certain limits, 401(k) plans and retiree health benefits are not. "When you look at how much money people have in their 401(k)s, on which they are becoming increasingly dependant, the money just isn't there," says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. "This notion that you can put in 6 percent of pay and your employer puts in 3 percent [in a matching program] is just not right. If we're going to rely on these 401(k) plans, we need to put in a number closer to 15 percent rather than 9 percent."

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