- Revenge of the Linkdumps: Something for the weekend, sir?
- This day in history: 2003, 2008, 2013, 2018, 2022
- Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading
In 1978, Jimmy Carter’s IRS created the 401(k) retirement program. Prior to this, most Americans had two ways to enjoy a dignified retirement: Social Security, and employer-provided defined-benefits pensions, which guaranteed you a proportion of your final salary every month from your retirement until your death.
The 401(k) was a third way to plan for retirement: you could gamble in the stock-market, and hope that you weren’t the sucker at the table. At first, this was a great deal: between the tax-breaks for 401(k) bets and generous employer-matching funds, many workers and unions were convinced to trade their sure-thing defined-benefits pensions for market-based alternatives.