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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

 This entry is part of the Director's Hub blog series. You'll hear from our Director, Tom Reeder, about the importance of preserving pension plans and protecting retirement security. Check out Tom's bio to learn more about him.

This week marks National Retirement Security Week, designated by Congress to create awareness about the importance of preparing for retirement. Retirement security is at the heart of PBGC's mission, and this week gives us an opportunity to emphasize the importance of that mission.

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I believe in the value of defined benefit pension plans because they provide retirement security in the form of a benefit you can't outlive or outspend. Here at PBGC, we protect the retirement incomes of more than 40 million American workers in defined benefit plans. More...

That's right, National Save for Retirement Week is here!

While we encourage you to save for retirement throughout the entire year, this week is specifically devoted to bringing awareness to the importance of retirement security. And this week, you are encouraged to revisit your personal retirement goals to determine if you are on target to reaching those goals.

Not sure where to begin? No problem! Take advantage of the National Save for Retirement Week webinar series, which covers a variety of topics for all career levels. You can also create a customized retirement savings plan, using retirement calculators, to help you better understand your financial picture.

Don't have much room in your paycheck? Small changes make a big difference, too. Have you ever wondered how much you can save by packing a lunch? Let's just say those lunch trips to your favorite eatery can set you back tremendously over time. So on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, participate in National Pack-A-Sack Lunch Day and see how this small step can make a big change in your financial future.

We hope this information will either help get the retirement conversation started or keep it going. With just a few small steps, you can see big changes in your retirement savings. And when it comes to saving for retirement, remember to dream big.

There's a growing trend among employers who want to exit the pension game. Some have decided to close out their traditional pension plans and instead offer lump-sum payouts or an annuity from an insurance company.

Many of the reasons companies give for leaving traditional pensions are understandable: the boom and bust market cycles that make it difficult to maintain a reliable funding stream and the often complex regulatory hassles connected to such plans.

But the problem with this practice is the responsibility for helping people prepare for retirement is shifting away from companies, which are well-suited to handle this burden, to retirees who aren't. The heavy lifting of managing investments, making sure returns can pay for a lifetime, and possibly the lifetime of a surviving spouse, all rest on the shoulders of retirees.


Janell Muhammed

By Janell Muhammad
Social Media Specialist

As PBGC takes part in National Save for Retirement Week, one employee reflects on the generation gap between Boomers and XYs in the quest for a secure retirement.

Working always has been a privilege and an honor for me. From the moment I was legally able, which in my case was the age of 13, I have held a job. As part of my duties, I have perfected the ice cream cone, salted McDonald's world-famous French fries, and advised young ladies on wardrobe choices at Loft. Whether part-time or full-time, after school or on the weekends, as a teenager, work kept me busy.

Today, I work for an agency focused on retirement. Considering the people we serve at PBGC, I pondered what it meant beyond being a federal employee.


Pen and calculator on a sheet of paperConfused about saving for retirement? Or have you been procrastinating on getting started? Here's a recommendation on how to begin.

Last year, Time magazine ran a top 10 hit list to improve your financial health. Coming in at number three: "Put 10% of Your Income Toward Retirement." One of the experts in the piece suggests that saving and investing at least 10 percent of your income no matter how much you make will put you on the right path.

In April, the retirement publication, PlanSponsor, echoed this approach with the headline, "Households Saving 10% on Track for Retirement." The piece was based on findings from a Lifetime Income Survey by Putnam Investments. "Overall, the study found that American households deferring 10% or more of their income to retirement savings are on track to replace more than 106% of pre-retirement income."

So if you've been putting off saving for retirement and don't know where to begin, start putting away 10% and grow your nest egg from there.

A lot of jobs only offer a 401(k)-style plan to new employees – worse yet, most employees don't have a workplace retirement plan at all.

But there's good news too: about 75 million Americans, and their families, can still rely on lifetime income from a defined benefit pension plan. That's income that they'll get no matter how long they live, and no matter what happens in the markets.

We think that's important. We fight hard so that companies going through bankruptcy reorganization keep their pension plan promises. And, since it's up to the company whether to offer pensions or not, we work hard to reduce regulatory burdens, and to increase flexibility, for companies willing to offer them.

And, when a company's finances are so bad that it can't keep its pension promises, PBGC is there with a safety net.

Jobs that come with pensions are rarer these days, but landing one can help enhance the security of your retirement in these too-often uncertain times.

Visit our Press Room to see what we're doing to protect pensioners and what we do to help employers continue to offer them.