Tax Reform Could Widen Retirement ‘Divide’

A new report finds that the retirement benefits of 100 CEOs is equal to the entire retirement savings of the 41% of U.S. families with the smallest nest eggs.

On average, the top 100 CEO nest eggs are large enough to generate for each of these executives a $253,088 monthly retirement check for the rest of their lives, according to “A Tale of Two Retirements” from the Institute for Policy Studies.

According to that report, this $4.7 billion total is also equal to the entire retirement savings of the bottom:

  • 59% of African-American families
  • 75% of Latino families
  • 55% of female-headed households
  • 44% of white working class households

Despite those kind of gaps, recent discussions on tax reform on Capitol Hill have focused on reducing tax rates that would not only largely benefit higher income workers, they would likely do so at the expense of current 401(k) tax preferences that help encourage American workers to save, and employers to establish these plans.

The report notes that, unlike ordinary 401(k) holders, most top CEOs have no limits on annual contributions to tax-deferred accounts such as their non-qualified deferred compensation plans. In 2015 alone, Fortune 500 CEOs saved $92 million on their taxes by putting $238 million more in these accounts than they could have if they were subject to the same 401(k) rules as other workers.

Tax reform has been a priority for President-elect Trump and several of his cabinet nominees, as well as for leadership in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

And that, as we have written about for months, could be a problem for workplace retirement savings.

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