Survey: Americans Want Pensions Back

Here’s what workers are looking for in a retirement plan

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Americans with shrunken nest eggs are feeling nostalgic for pensions. About half of those without a pension (55 percent), say the old-fashioned retirement plan would ease their money worries, according to a National Institute on Retirement Security survey. However, not all workers with pensions are sleeping soundly. Only about 65 percent of Americans with a pension are confident that the payout will be there at retirement.

Since traditional pensions aren’t likely to make a comeback in the near future, the survey also asked what workers are looking for in a retirement plan. The most desired features are portability (88 percent), followed by an employer contribution (84 percent), continuation of payments for a spouse after death (79 percent), and a regular check that cannot be outlived (79 percent), the telephone survey of 801 Americans age 25 or older by Mathew Greenwald & Associates and the National Institute on Retirement Security found. Respondents were less interested in managing investments (50 percent) and having an employer foot the entire bill (48 percent).

The number of workers with traditional pensions has been declining steadily for 2 decades. About 28 percent of workers consider a pension that pays out benefits for life to be a major source of retirement income, down from 46 percent in 1998 and 57 percent in 1988, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. More people are expected to rely on their 401(k) (42 percent) and Social Security (32 percent).

Tell us, what are you looking for in a retirement plan?