I saw the above chart in a MarketWatch article and it really struck home. We are living during a period of nearly unprecedented gains for the U.S. stock market, yet many Americans are being left behind. According to MarketWatch, “the rate of credit card balances that are 30 days or more delinquent at the 4,500 or so commercial banks that are smaller than the top 100 banks spiked to 7.05% in the fourth quarter, the highest delinquency rate in the data going back to the 1980s.
The need to borrow for many American workers doesn’t come from the fact that they are being frivolous with their money. It has everything to do with the fact that basic needs for items such as healthcare, education, housing, food, etc. are outpacing the earnings potential and incomes for many workers. A significant percentage of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck. So while it is great for the “Haves” that equity markets and home prices are rising, for many of America’s “Havenots” that reality is nothing more than a fairytale.
Given this fact, does it really seem logical to ask them to fund a defined contribution retirement program? Do you really believe that they have the disposable income to adequately prepare for a dignified retirement? The answer is, of course not. This is another reason why DB plans are so necessary for a great swath of our workers.