Traditional pensions dwindle; 401(k)s are on the rise

Released: 
March 06, 2013

401(k)s are replacing traditional pension plans for more American workers. In 2011, twice as many workers had 401(k) accounts as had traditional pensions.

The traditional pension plan is getting scarcer in corporate America. That’s the employer-sponsored plan that guarantees workers a fixed sum every month for the duration of their retirement. Replacing it is the 401(k) funded by employees themselves, though employers often match some contributions.

In 1989-1990, 42 percent of full-time private employees had traditional pension plans. In 2011 it was down to 22 percent.

In 1989-1990, 40 percent of such workers had 401(k)-type plans. By 2011, 401(k) participation grew to 50 percent – twice the workers with traditional pensions.

Check out our infographic for more on traditional pensions’ slow fade. See “What Do Others Say?” for more views, then add to the discussion below. What kind of plan do you have? Are you satisfied?