Old-fashioned pensions have been disappearing from the benefits landscape for decades, but has that been bad for workers? Not necessarily.
At least, that is the opinion of an often overlooked group of retirement-security experts. They argue that most defined-benefit plans that pay retirees a guaranteed amount of money every month for the rest of their lives were never very generous for most workers.
To be sure, those pensions tend to work well for highly compensated employees and people who stay with the same employer most of their careers. But many workers have not been so lucky, mainly because high pay and lengthy tenure have always been more the exception than the rule.
“Largely, there has been this notion that in the good old days, people did not change jobs much,” said Dallas L. Salisbury, president and chief executive of the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI). “But for the overall labor force, that is bunk.”