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Tale of Two Retirements: one for CEOs of large U.S. corporations and the other for the rest of us

Center for Effective Government: “Retirement benefits for CEOs at corporations have exploded while the rest of Americans struggle to save for retirement. Just look at this statistic: the 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion. That’s equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American families! This rising inequality is the result of rules intentionally tipped to reward those already on the highest rungs of the ladder. While the availability of pension plans for most Americans has dwindled in the last 30 years, more than half of Fortune 500 CEOs receive company-sponsored pension plans. Their firms are allowed to deduct the cost of these plans from their taxes, even if they have cut worker pensions or never offered them at all. Seventy-three percent of Fortune 500 firms have also set up special tax-deferred compensation accounts for their executives. These are similar to the 401(k) plans that some Americans receive through their employers. But ordinary workers face strict limits on how much pre-tax income they can invest each year in these plans, while top executives do not. These privileged few are free to shelter unlimited amounts of compensation in their retirement pots, where their money can grow, tax-free, until they retire and start spending it…”

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