Retirement security is a real concern for Americans. At a time when many U.S. workers are struggling to make ends meet and are dependent on Wall Street returns for their nest egg, it is easy to understand why.
A recent study by Franklin Templeton Investments shows 41 percent of workers haven’t even begun putting away money for retirement. Meanwhile, 70 percent said they were stressed thinking about retirement savings. Both numbers are up from the previous year.
A separate report shows 47 percent of everyday Americans are concerned they won’t be able to keep up with growing costs in the coming decades, while another 11 percent described themselves as “terrified” that won’t be able to cover their essentials for living in their golden years.
The war on retirement isn’t just about contributing to one’s 401(k) of course. Hundreds of thousands of Teamster retirees and workers participating in the Central States Pension Fund fought for months to stop pension cuts as high as 70 percent. While the Treasury Department sided with them on Friday, the fight is far from over.
Financial institutions have done a number on pensions. The same Wall Street banks that rake in hundreds of millions of dollars managing pension funds lobbied to reduce pension benefits for the people whose sweat created those funds. Congress did the bankers’ bidding and reduced benefits, but the banks get to keep making millions on the backs of the very pensioners whose benefits were cut. That is unfair, unjust and plain un-American.
Workers should have enough money to live comfortably when they retire. All hard-working Americans should share in the American dream of living out their lives without fear of bankruptcy or poverty. But with pensions under attack, the stock market unsteady and Social Security’s future uncertain, many questions remain about whether that will be a reality for millions of Americans approaching retirement age.
The federal government must take steps to guarantee that those who played by the rules and were promised retirement benefits have financial security when their working days have ended. That means strengthening Social Security and ensuring that workers get the benefits they earned from their pensions.
Retirees should get what they were promised.