PBS Frontline: The Retirement Gamble

Last night I watched a great little documentary by PBS Frontline about the shift in retirement responsibility.  The documentary, available online for free viewing, provides a short history of the pension to 401k historical shift, follows some regular Joes and Janes, and interviews several major executives on Wall Street.

The easy to digest one hour long video does a great job exposing the hidden cost of expense ratios in certain 401k plans.  Two next door neighbors working the same job and contributing the same amount can have drastically different retirement savings because of these often overlooked fees.  In fact, the example given by Vanguard founder John Bogle, was almost 2/3 less savings due to high fees.

The documentary fell a bit short in highlighting successful savers who have navigated the somewhat murky waters of retirement savings.  Not all 401k plans or choices are bad, and not all pensions were/are good.  It is undeniable though that in this day and age, the responsibility for saving and preparing for retirement is ours, not our employers.

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