Archives for April 4, 2018

Graphic: The Fall of Pensions, The “Rise” of 401ks and IRAs


Above is a historical chart of US household retirement assets that helps visualize the shift from mostly pensions to mostly a combination of defined contribution plans (401k, 403b, etc) and IRAs. Pension share has gone from nearly 80% of total assets in the 1980s to about 40% today. The blips upwards in 2001 and 2009 are more a function of stock market drops than anything else. I find it interesting that annuity use is not increasing at all, i.e. people are not creating more “DIY pensions”. Found via WSJ Daily Shot.

Below is a graphic of the percentage of households who have any retirement plan at all, grouped by income percentile. This means it counts any family with one person with any retirement plan of any type with any amount saved. Via Bloomberg article about state-mandated Roth IRAs.


My big-picture concern is – What happens when those who started jobs in the 1980s and 1990s retire in the 2030s and 2040s with no pensions? As shown above, the majority of the lowest-income workers have no retirement plan at all. If you include the highest-paid workers, the average 401(k) at retirement age is currently about $100,000. In contrast, I ran an annuity quote and a pension that pays $50,000 a year inflation-adjusted is roughly the equivalent of having $1,000,000 saved in a 401(k).

More individuals are finding themselves in charge of their own retirement every day, whether they like it or not. This is a very serious responsibility. Warren Buffett has a plaque in his office with the following saying on it:

A fool and his money are soon invited everywhere.

Lots of money floating around means lots of “helpers” will pop up. Big banks. Start-up smartphone apps. Even now wants to help you with investing. Read the Gotrocks parable and beware high-fee helpers.

H&R Block Desktop Tax Software 2017: Fed + State $17.99 (Flash Sale)


Deal of the Day again 4/4/18. The benefit of “old-school” desktop tax software is that it doesn’t require your Social Security Number and financial details to be stored in the cloud (third-party server where it can be sold or hacked). Here’s a limited-time deal on H&R Block Tax Software 2017 (PC/Mac download or physical CD).

Amazon has H&R Block Deluxe Federal + State for $17.99, the lowest price of the year per CamelCamelCamel. There is also a discount on Premium & Business at $39.99. It looks like the rest are not on sale as Federal only is $20, and Premium is $50. This is a 24-hour “Deal of of the Day” (sorry I don’t get advance notice) and close to the lowest prices ever from last year. If it is out of stock, you can still buy it and lock in the price.

H&R Block Deluxe includes guidance for stock gains and losses, home mortgage interest deduction, and other itemized deductions. Compare that against TurboTax Deluxe Download which makes you upgrade to TurboTax Premier to get guidance for stock sales and dividends. H&R Block Premium includes rental properties and self-employment. All flavors include “Refund Bonus” where you can a 5% bonus if you take your refund in the form of an Amazon gift card.

Keep in mind that for these products 5 Federal e-Files are included but State e-File is extra ($19.95 per state). I would personally just print the (usually shorter) state return out and snail mail it in if you don’t have a free State e-File option.

This might be the last flash sale for this tax year, as the April 15th deadline (17th this year) is nearing.

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