While many Americans are facing a "frightening retirement reality," 100 CEOs are looking at "colossal nest eggs" and can look forward to monthly retirement checks of over $250,000 for the rest of their lives.
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) puts a spotlight on this massive savings gap in its new report (pdf), "A Tale of Two Retirements."
"While slashing jobs and benefits for ordinary workers, CEOs of large companies have been feathering their own nests," stated Sarah Anderson, report co-author and director of the IPS Global Economy Project. "It's no wonder so many American workers are concerned about whether their golden years will be tarnished by financial stress.”
In fact, these 100 CEOs have retirement funds that total $4.7 billion. That's as much as the retirement savings of the 41 percent of U.S. families with the smallest nest eggs—that's 116 million people. The report also notes that 37 percent of U.S. families have no retirement wealth at all.
The retirement divide is even greater when accounting for race. The CEOs' combined retirement funds are equal to the retirement savings of 59 percent of African-American families and 75 percent of Latino families.
Topping the list is Progressive CEO Glenn M. Renwick, who can expect a monthly retirement check of $1,035,733. How does that compare with regular workers lucky enough to have 401(k) plans? With an average balance at the end of 2013 of $18,433, these workers can count on a monthly check of just over $100.
Why this retirement divide? Anderson and report co-author Scott Klinger write: "This is not the result of executives working harder or investing more wisely. Instead, this gap is one more example of rule rigging in favor of the 1 percent."
Apart from eliminating those rules and loopholes to narrow the divide, social security should be expanded by requiring the wealthiest to pay on all their earned income; safeguarding public pensions from attack, supporting universal retirement funds, and increasing unionization as leverage for retirement benefits.
President-elect Donald Trump could make the problem worse, the report states, if he cuts the U.S. top marginal tax rate from the current 39.6 percent to 33 percent. That would save CEOs $196 million when they pay the IRS their taxes on their "special unlimited deferred compensation plans."
The new IPS report comes on the heels of an analysis by Quartz finding that Trump's 17 cabinet-level pics have more wealth than one-third of U.S. households combined.