#103 - Do We Get Shamed by the Retirement System?
In the United States, 8.5 million older people will fall from being middle-class into poverty when they retire if we don’t do anything. With so many at risk, why do people feel alone? They feel like they’re the only ones who struggle to save when life happens. But this isn’t about an individual’s fault. We all live in the same retirement system that works for spreadsheets, not real people—and when we believe it’s our fault, we are shamed by a failing system. On today’s episode, we explore what this conflict looks like in real life. First, we meet Archer, an English professor who reflects on his early saving experiences and expresses feelings of regret. Then, we talk to Barbara, a single mother working at a non-profit, to discuss how job loss and divorce led her to deal with feelings of shame and eventually to financial empowerment. After their stories, we hear from our expert round table, including host Teresa Ghilarducci and our guests, economist Tony Webb and author Helaine Olen, for a discussion on the role of shame in our retirement system. Finally, we highlight workers who have taken action to recover savings lost to high and often hidden fees in typical 401k plans.