The shift from traditional pensions to individual responsibility for retirement savings has been significant for Americans. In the past, workers would receive pensions from their employers upon retirement. However, as many companies have stopped offering pension plans, the responsibility to save for retirement has shifted to individuals. The most popular retirement savings options today are workplace plans such as 401(k)s or self-supported IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts).

Unfortunately, many Americans have not enrolled in a 401(k) plan, which can lead to dissatisfaction with their retirement quality of life compared to previous generations. In fact, recent movements such as ‘Making America Great Again’ may have been fueled, at least in part, by a sense of insecurity caused by inadequate retirement savings and lower retirement quality.

Like it or not, it’s important to recognize the reality that 401(k) plans and workplace retirement plans have become the most important sources of retirement income, in addition to basic and often limited Social Security benefits.

If you’re considering your retirement savings options, don’t overlook the importance of enrolling in a 401(k) plan or other workplace retirement plan.

The following is a visual history of 401(k) plans. 

Courtesy of Bloomberg

So pension plans disappearing while most now need to rely on their 401k investments for retirement. Success for what?