For two generations, people have been saving for retirement. Originally, indirectly by their employer; and then on their own.

After WWII, the middle class of the Silent Generation enjoyed a great economy and often also benefited from the company pension, which promised to guarantee secure income in the after-work years.

Baby Boomers began to lose pensions as an employer benefit but gained the IRA and 401(k), which required them to save on their own with in some cases an employer-matching contribution.

Better than a pension

Now there are tens of millions of Boomers with trillions of dollars in these qualified savings accounts invested in stocks, bonds and cash, and several trillions of dollars of equity in their homes. Unlike the pension era, these Boomers have to decide how to convert those savings into a lifetime of retirement income.

A recent article in Employee Benefit News points out that “traditional retirement plans aren’t enough to secure a worker’s financial future anymore.” Instead, everyday employees need help not only with savings, but often with unexpected health care costs and other emergency expenses.