A darker future

Oct 13 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Just in case some of you weren't worried enough about your jobs, did you happen to hear that in the US, workplace retirement plans have taken a hit to the tune of $2 trillion dollars? What's even scarier is that this figure is just about the last 15 months!

Let's face it, this is hardly surprising news - in light of all the crumbling banks and other financial institutions, Americans could hardly expect our retirement plans not to take a massive hit. For those of us in our 30s or 40s, we still have time before retirement to pray to the market deities and hope that we recoup our losses. However, for those who are facing retirement within the next couple of years, the future just got a little darker.

What does this mean? Well, for starters, it means that there are a whole lot of people who are going to have to rethink retirement plans and continue working.

For this population, will their companies continue to allow them to work at their current position and wage? Will these people be forced into a mandatory retirement and then have to start looking for work elsewhere? Will this mean that with fewer departures that there will be fewer promotions and fewer entry level positions that can be created?

Obviously, the answers to these questions remain to be seen. Indeed, we've yet to see the end of the tunnel with respect to the current market conditions. Maybe, as one expert in the aforementioned article suggests, it's time to call the 401k (which 60% of American workers rely as their primary retirement savings source) a "failed experiment." Maybe it's also time to rethink how we invest for our retirements.