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Thomas Edward Perez

A path forward for state retirement plans

A path forward for state retirement plans

Once upon a time, millions of American worked most of their careers at the same company, retiring after 30 or 40 years with a party, maybe a gold watch and, most importantly, a defined benefit pension that they couldn't outlive.

But the paradigm has shifted dramatically in recent decades, introducing complexity and uncertainty to a once-straightforward system. Defined benefit pensions, which pay retirees a set monthly amount based on earnings history and length of employment, have largely given way to defined contribution plans like 401(k) plans and individual savings arrangements like IRAs. Roughly one-third of private-sector workers (approximately 68 million people) do not have...