It’s a clunker of a headline, but there’s an important point to make.
Yes, it’s good news that Fidelity reported last Friday. The average account balance for participants in 401(k) plans they administered rose to $91,000 for the quarter ended June 30, 2014, an increase of 12.9% in the last 12 months.
But let’s not live in the moment. The issue of retirement readiness is still a big problem in this country. Those of us in the retirement plan business must continue to work hard with employers to encourage their employees to increase their rate of saving.
Retirement savings is not just an issue in this country. Some individuals see the issue on a worldwide basis. Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, for example is the founder and co-chief executive of Mallowstreet, a London-based social media platform that connects the pensions and insurance industries. He takes a grim global view of the situation.
Writing in Workplace Pensions, he warns that unless we deal with five great challenges, we will face dire consequences for generations to come. The first four, he says, are
- Global security
- Sustainable living
- Global health
- The economy
The fifth global challenge he says is
… inadequate retirement resources – the pensions crisis. We are living much longer than our parents and grandparents. Some 40 per cent of girls born today will live to be 100. And, by 2060, the UK expects to have half a million centenarians. But we’re also contracting chronic illnesses in old age, and the cost of being elderly is high and climbing.
Like many of us, he believes that government is unlikely to provide much assistance in the future. The government he is talking about, of course, is his own in the U.K. It’s much the same here in the U.S. In other words, employees are on their own to supplement Social Security.
But there’s a big difference. The U.K. has a much different attitude about retirement savings than we have. Auto-Enrollment in the U.K. is the law.
Editor Note: Dawid Konotey-Ahulu’s article discussed above originally appeared in Raconteur’s Workplace Pensions Special Report for The Times. Raconteur is a U.K.-based publishing house and content marketing agency.
Image: The Wiley Life Science Blog reporting on University of Pittsburgh research Why Living in the Moment Is Impossible.