Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, recently dropped a bomb: Her center's research uncovered the fact that defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, provide about the same percentage of a retirees' income that pensions once did.
That was the good news. Now for the bad news.
Even if 401(k) plans are the way a majority of Americans pay for retirement now, most people still don't know how to evaluate whether or not they have a good plan. A bad plan, with exorbitant fees and poor fund choices, can mean surrendering hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement savings during the years of investing.