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Is It Time to Rethink 401(k)s?

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Like the proverbial elephant, the view of 401(k) plans depends on which part of the retirement beast you're looking at. Started 30 years ago as a largely self-directed investment companion to traditional pensions, 401(k)s have been forced to grow up and become the nation's primary private retirement-savings vehicle.

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The retirement savings crisis

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The state of retirement savings in America is in big trouble. According to Fidelity Investments, the average 401(k) balance among its 11.8 million accounts increased to $74,600 at the end of the first quarter 2012, a 62 percent increase since the end of the first quarter 2009. While it's good news that balances are up, the number of accounts is alarmingly low for such an industry giant.

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Median 401(k) Balance Down to $23,000

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At the peak of his retirement savings, around 2006, John Taylor had about $66,000 in his employer-sponsored 401(k) -- until the recession and a chain of unexpected events drained his fund completely.

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How 401(k)s are failing millions of Americans

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More than half of U.S. workers have no retirement plan at all. And even those who do have a 401(k) typically don't have enough money to retire comfortably

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The 401(k): Americans ‘just not prepared’ to manage their own retirement funds

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When lawmakers added a subsection to the tax code called the 401(k) more than three decades ago, they could not have imagined that this string of three numbers and a letter would become a fixture in the financial lexicon.

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Employees to Employers: Help Us Retire

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After years, if not decades, of reports that U.S. employees don’t save enough for retirement, along comes a new study that appears to show that the minds of American workers have changed: They are now ready to save for retirement and willing to sacrifice to do so — or at least half of them are.

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Conference Proposes New Pension Options

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Forum Examines New Retirement Plans to Reduce Risk and Increase Retirement Income

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Cracking Open Today's Retirement Strategies

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The days when workers could count on a comfortable retirement after a lifetime of company devotion are a distant memory for most. Public pension funds across the country teeter on the edge of collapse, and the traditional company pensions that sustained previous generations through their golden years are fading into the sunset.

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‘Father’ of the 401(k)’s Tough Love

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Ted Benna, who three decades ago seized on an IRS loophole to transform American retirement savings, says he’s proud to be “father of the 401(k).” He also thinks he created a monster.

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5 ways to improve the U.S. retirement system

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U.S. has 10th best pension system of 14 countries studied.

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