Folks like John Greene seem common in stories that question retirement savings policies and 401(k) plans, like one that ran in this weekend’s paper. Greene worked 30 years in a Wisconsin meat processing plant, and now at 77 his retirement savings have dropped to fraction of the $60,000 balance he had at retirement.
And what’s shocking is how many people are willing to jump into the comments section to blast Greene for his own predicament.
Yes, he probably could have saved more, as $60,000 was not nearly enough. Yes, he probably could have invested his savings more effectively, by, say, rolling his investments into cash just before the Great Recession.
Yet the data shows that there are millions of people like Greene. The typical 401(k) balance for people 55 to 64 years old was $54,000 in 2010, according to a recent study produced by Boston College. Fewer than half of the nation’s private-sector workers are in 401(k) plans.
Whether folks should have saved more or invested more shrewdly doesn't alter the fact that millions have not. Greene is no better than just getting by and he behaved exactly the same way many millions of other Americans have.
It seems roughly akin to having a dangerous curve on the highway where a dozen drive off to their deaths each year. Would we routinely blame the dead for their own driving carelessness?
Or put up a guardrail?
More from Star Tribune
More from Lee Schafer
There continues to be development after development in home delivery options for Twin Cities consumers.
The idea that Naming Rights deals mean that the Vikings principal owners are particularly gifted negotiators is just plain silly.
John Taylor, Stanford economist, came to Minneapolis to argue for a more stable and predictable monetary policy, including shrinking the size of the Fed's bloated balance sheet.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President went to Korea to talk about the benefits of higher government debt.
A recent report by the national firm CBRE highlighted 11 attractive Midwestern real estate markets, topped by Minneapolis. The thing is, Minneapolis rents are relatively low, which suggests rents could only be going up.