In 1983, researchers now at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College calculated that 31% of working-age households were “at risk” of not being able to maintain their standard of living after they retired. By 2009, it was 51%. “If the 401(k) is supposed to be the primary retirement vehicle for the average American worker, then it needs to be consistent with the information and financial ability of the average American work, who is just not prepared to manage funds like that over the course of a lifetime,” said William Gale, director of the Retirement Security Project at the Brookings Institution. Some proposed changes of the 401(k) include diminishing the do-it-yourself nature of the plan, or at least nudging people toward better decisions. And at the core of the changes will have to be education of employees on how to plan for retirement.

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