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Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  9 reviews
How 401(k)s have gutted retirement security, from charging exorbitant hidden fees to failing to replace the income of traditional pensions

Named one of PW's Top 10 for Business & Economics

A retirement crisis is looming. In 2008, as the 401(k) fallout rippled across the country, horrified holders watched 25 percent of their funds evaporate overnight. Average 401(k) balance
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Robb Bridson
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
DISCLOSURE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Goodreads' first reads program.

In many ways this book is actually about a broader subject. Rather than tackling the broader subject, this book attacks one specific element in a comprehensive manner. At times the book gets a little repetitive, but it takes us on a history of retirement and the policies, programs, and devices built around it, and points out the wrong turn we made in the '80s.

Of course what this really is is
James Russell mixes the history of pensions and 401(k)s in with his personal experiences with various retirement systems. This is a good way to demonstrate how difficult wonky financial decisions can make a huge difference in our lives.

I must admit that at first I thought Mr. Russel was just whining because other people got better pensions than he did. As someone who has self employed most of my life, there was no way I could ever get a defined benefit retirement plan. I knew this and invested m
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book came in a timely manner, as my husband and I were have anxiety about how we could ever retire. I read this book cover to cover and thought it was thought-provoking and well written. My only complaint is while the author got 'saved' and will be able to eventually retire, most of us will not. I am part of the generation (mid 40s) who went through a lot of schooling for 'white-collar' work. My husband and I both have master's degrees and neither one of us has a defined benefit plan. Altho ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really horrifying, but highly recommended.
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
A clearly, at times overly so, development of the move to 401k plans and how awful they really are for the retirement years of many employees. Although he presented some interesting options that could save Social Security in the future and make life easier for many people when they retire some of his advice I found wispy. Most people reading this book already have careers and so changing careers or companies, as the author suggests, is not always an option or even a desire. I also found it odd t ...more
Roland Clark
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Russell explains how a functioning pension system was abandoned due to pressure from financial speculators on Wall Street and alarmist rhetoric from right-wing economists. He lays out the different options that most Americans have when it comes to retirement plans and indicates in no uncertain terms which ones are better than others.

See my full review here:
Steve Peifer
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Early in the forward, the author makes a point of telling you that when he would try to talk to people about their pensions, they would look at their watches and move away. I should have taken the warning. It is dull beyond dull, and while it's point is that defined benefits programs are better, it never addressed why they went away. They aren't economically sustainable. I'm interested in the subject, but there are much better books out there.
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis was an exceptional read. This is one of the best books I have read that addresses why so many people are inadequately prepared for retirement. I sent a copy of this book to my friend. This is a must read book for young people. Thanks Goodreads for sending me a review copy of this book.
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it
401(k)s started out as one thing and ended up being a rigged game. The author believes that their primary, if not only, advantage of portability hardly makes up for their disadvantages (higher cost/lower returns)for retirees.
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