More ominous developments on the darkening retirement front: The total value of Americans' retirement assets stood at $17 trillion at the end of September -- a drop of 7.5% from the record high of $18.4 trillion recorded on June 30, 2011.
The conventional wisdom is that young people today expect they'll change employers repeatedly, and thus don't really care about pensions. But it turns out the conventional wisdom is wrong. With 401(k)s looking less secure, a defined-benefit plan is a real lure for younger workers.
During the past three decades, businesses of all sizes have shifted away from traditional defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution plans, also known as 401(k)s. Now, states and local governments are doing the same, even though many workers lack the necessary investing savvy.