House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he will retire at the end of his term in January, giving up his prominent position and salary of $223,500 a year. But that doesn't mean the 48-year-old will have to start pinching pennies.
When he turns 50, he's likely entitled to a pension plan that Vanity Fair describes as "a golden parachute." If he is enrolled in the program offered to Congress members, the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), he could receive $84,930 a year, assuming he sticks it out through January.
For most of America, by contrast, pension plans are only a memory: In total, only 23 percent of workers have one now, according to the most recent analysis from the Pension Rights Center, while in 2016 "pension benefits provided income to nearly one third of older adults."
Many U.S. employers have shifted away from offering pensions in favor of encouraging personal retirement accounts. But 401(k)s, which in any event are only available to some, have proven to be an insufficient alternative, leading some to conclude that "the grand 401(k) experiment has been a failure." Overall, Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 have a median of $120,000 saved for retirement, according to a recent Bankrate survey. That's only 12 percent of the $1 million experts recommend you have to count on once you've stopped working.
A 2015 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, meanwhile, found that 30 percent of households headed by someone 55 or older don't have any retirement savings or a pension, reports the Washington Post, which adds that the Economic Policy Institute found that the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans older than 65 own just about all of the $25 trillion total in U.S. retirement savings.