“The $282.3 billion funding shortfall at the beginning of the year expanded to a $342.5 billion deficit,” Russ Walker, vice president, Wilshire Associates, said in a statement. â€œDefined benefit pension assets for S&P 500 Index companies increased by $113 billion, from $1.11 trillion to $1.22 trillion, while liabilities increased $174 billion, from $1.39 trillion to $1.56 trillion. The median corporate funded ratio is 76.9%, which represents a modest decline from 77.7% last year.â€
The article continues:
The defined benefit plans in Wilshire’s study yielded a median 11.8% rate of return for 2012. This performance combines with the 3.6% median plan return for 2011, the 11.9% median plan return for 2010 and the 16% median plan return for 2009 to mark four consecutive years of gains for these plans after the global market dislocation events of 2007 and 2008.
So, we had four decent years and the pension funds are still that much underfunded? Not good.
Don’t count on your pension fund. You’ll likely be disappointed if you do.
Fifty-seven percent of U.S. workers surveyed reported less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments excluding their homes, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Only 49% reported having so little money saved in 2008.
I found the report and thought this graphic that breaks down savings by age group was troubling:
Only 42% of those 55 and over have a $100,000 or more in retirement savings. Wow! What kind of retirement, if any, can they (or the other 58%) plan on having?
Even worse is the fact that a lot of people have no idea how much they will need during retirement. Here is a quote from one part of the report:
Forty percent of all workers think they need to accumulate at least $500,000 by the time they retire to live comfortably in retirement. Twenty-one percent feel they need between $250,000 and $499,999, while 29 percent think they need to save less than $250,000 for a comfortable retirement…
A lump sum of $250,000 placed in a 20-year fixed immediate annuity with a 3% to 5% interest rate, will produce an annual income of $16,000 and $19,000. Even combined with social security income, that’s hardly a comfortable retirement.
A friend of mine asked me to help her allocate her 401(k) contributions.
Here are her choices (click on the graphic to see a PDF version):
As you can see, they’re all expensive choices. I’m sure this is because it’s a small company and one of the ways providers make the plan “cheaper” for employers is by giving the employees higher-cost choices. Unfortunately, a lot of employers don’t have the time or the desire to research their options.
The maximum dollar amount an employee can contribute to their 401(K) is increasing $500 to $17,500 for 2013. Those who are 50 and older can contribute as much as $23,000.
Let’s break down $17,500.
$1,453.33 per month.
$47.95 per day.
$1.9977 per hour (based on 8,760 hours per year).
$.0333 per minute.
Better get to saving.
Oh, and in case you’re interested…
The geometric average monthly rate of return for the S&P 500 Index since 1926 is .779%. If a person invests the maximum of $1,453.33 per month for 25 years and gets that kind of return, they could have $1.75 million.
This is good but he misses one point. I’m not sure if it’s true of all 401(k) plans but interest on a 401(k) loan usually is paid into the 401(k) account. In other words, the interest is your money. It’s as if you borrowed from the Bank of You. Also, some companies do allow contributions while paying back a loan.