Planning for Retirement: "The Math Doesn't Work"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seniors attend a 'Medicare Monday' seminar at the Holly Creek retirement community on December 6, 2010 in Centennial, Colorado. 80 people came to learn how federal health care reform will affect them. Seniors attend a 'Medicare Monday' seminar (John Moore/Getty)

With pension plans nearly obsolete and most employees relying on their companies' 401k plans to prepare for retirement, many Americans may not know how to invest their money into these plans and the associated costs and fees that go along with that. In the new Frontline special, "The Retirement Gamble," Frontline correspondent Martin Smith investigates how to best navigate the country's retirement crisis. 

"The options that the financial services industry is giving us are not good ones," Smith says. "Many 401k plans are very bad. The fees on the funds, the choices on the funds, all go against us. And most the people who are giving us financial advice ... are in fact, not people who really have our back." 

Frontline is produced in partnership with WGBH Boston Public Radio and airs on Tuesday night on local PBS stations. 



Martin Smith

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [4]

Wendy W from New Jerset

Who can get a job after 60? My husband got laid off at 60 and NEVER GOT ANOTHER JOB, despite being qualified in several fields and getting retrained for yet another.

Apr. 23 2013 03:46 PM
Louis James Iocca from Jersey City

Retirement? Via a retirement account managed by a Wall Street firm? No thanks! I feel a bit of all this "YOU MUST SAVE FOR RETIREMENT!" is simply a ruse to get you to funnel some of your pay into the stock market. While yes, it's historically a good bet, I am loath to bet my retirement on the good will and performance of the financial industry. If anything, I am more suspicious of it then confident it really wants me to live the good life in my twilight years. Plus I think the retirement industry sets unrealistic goals about retirement: suggesting an average retirement means traveling the world all year long, running a vineyard, or starting an NGO to cure cancer. All that marketing and its dreams and its guilt are self serving the financial industry to give them more of your paycheck so they can live that kinda life, not you! So what to do? I dunno!! But I think letting Wall Street provide for my retirement isn't really an option for me. The problem is nothing offers a recent return anymore! So you really have no choice but to invest in a business or start a business.

Apr. 23 2013 03:41 PM

What about people who have had modest paying jobs with no retirement benefits? They have never been able to amass enough to make a downpayment on a house, so they don't have that asset. They don't have a 401K. If they have been able to save any money in an IRA or bank, it is a very small amount.
There are millions of people in much more precarious positions than those that were interviewed. Of course, if you have a catastrophic accident or serious illness, then you can't even work to save.

Apr. 23 2013 09:57 AM

Is the government coming for our retirement
accounts now?
They can do a better job then private individuals
while they spend a trillion every year they don't have?

Apr. 23 2013 09:50 AM

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