Sunday, May 26, 2013

End of An American Dream

The idyllic trajectory of long-term prosperity that was emblematic of America in the 50's and 60's, a place  where you could earn a decent living, raise a family and retire with some security and dignity, has been at risk for decades.  That's no secret to anyone who pays attention to economic and public policy.  Still, the idea has persisted.  But a quote in a Washington Post article about a company ending its fixed pension plan for employees shows me how little is expected any more.
ILM employees are taking the pension fund’s demise in stride. “To be honest, I am surprised that the plan was not frozen a while back,” said Traci Barber, 42, a service center manager who has been with ILM nearly 13 years. “I was surprised when I took this job that it even offered a pension plan.”
In the end, even pensions are no absolute guarantee.  But a well-managed, properly funded pension system is more of a guarantee than millions of us managing small individual retirement savings (assuming we have any at all) in an array of financial instruments, all replete with fees to enrich the bankers.



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