100 CEOs to Retire With as Much as 50 Million Families Combined

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The retirement funds of the 100 wealthiest CEOs are worth a combined $4.9 billion -- equal to the total retirement savings of 41 percent of American families. Find out how this happened.

The company-sponsored retirement assets of just 100 of America’s top CEOs matches the collective amount that 41 percent of American families have saved for their retirement.

In a report titled “A Tale of Two Retirements,” two groups — the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government — explain:

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 (more than 50 million families and more than 116 million people).

This difference in retirement assets is partly but not exclusively due to the difference in income earned by CEOs compared to the salaries of most workers, according to Scott Klinger. The director of revenue and spending policies at the Center for Effective Government tells CBS MoneyWatch:

“Most companies have made their retirement benefits less generous over the last 10 to 20 years, and CEO retirement benefits have gone up in the last 10 to 20 years.

“That’s the common story. There are no laws against it, and there are no disincentives for it.”

As of last year, just 18 percent of private-sector workers had a defined-benefit pension, which guarantees monthly payments, according to the report. But 52 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs had a pension.

Other findings from the report include:

  • The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are each worth an average of $49.3 million, enough to generate a $277,686 monthly retirement check for the rest of each CEO’s life.
  • The median balance of all 401(k) plans at the end of 2013 was $18,433, enough to generate a monthly retirement check of $104.
  • David Novak of YUM Brands had the largest retirement nest egg in the Fortune 500 in 2014, when it was worth $234 million.
  • Nearly half of all working age Americans have no access to any retirement plan at work.

Do you think it’s fair that CEOs have more access to company-sponsored retirement plans? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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