Pensions may be the zombies of the benefits business. While employer-sponsored defined benefit plans are shrinking by the thousands and considered dead to some, certain retirement industry professionals are insisting there is a unique market where the classic retirement vehicle can play a small but significant role. Not to mention a possible factor for others in how the retirement crisis may eventually get fixed.
According to data compiled by the Government Accountability Office in 2008, there are approximately 17,000 employer-sponsored DB pension plans in the United States. Representatives from the Insured Retirement Institute, a trade and lobbying organization for annuities, say that the total number of pensions now is around 26,000, while in the 1980s that number was closer to 117,000. While all rough numbers, the reality is pretty gruesome.
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