Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"While slashing jobs and benefits for ordinary workers, CEOs of large companies have been feathering their own nests," stated report co-author Sarah Anderson. (Photo: 401kcalculator.org)

100 CEOs Have as Much Retirement Savings as 116 Million Americans

New report spotlights massive retirements savings divide

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

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."

To wit: pension rules that allow CEOs to put unlimited funds into tax-deferred plans, the erosion of traditional pensions, and a tax code loophole that allows for so-called "performance-based" pay.

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.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

NYC Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams Rebuked for 'Dangerous' 400-Students-to-1-Teacher Theory

"Defunding schools to the point that we have a 400:1 student-to-teacher ratio so we can bankroll another huge expansion in an already-multibillion dollar police budget," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, "is how you build a school-to-prison pipeline."

Jon Queally, staff writer ·


Lack of Patent Waiver Would Add Over $70 Billion to Cost of Vaccinating World: Oxfam

Most of that money, said a spokesperson for the group, "will go directly into the pockets" of Big Pharma shareholders.

Jon Queally, staff writer ·


Darnella Frazier Receives Pulitzer Special Citation 'for Courageously Recording the Murder of George Floyd'

"Without Darnella, Derek Chauvin never would have been tried and George Floyd would have been blamed by the state for his own death."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


'We Are Sounding the Alarm': Global Left Warns Right-Wing Fujimori Trying to Steal Election in Peru

"Fujimori’s only way forward to victory is simple: annul tens of thousands of already tallied votes," warned Progressive International. "Powerful forces are organizing to deliver this outcome."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


'Climate Denial Masquerading as Bipartisanship': Progressives Reject Latest Infrastructure Compromise

"Refusing to act on climate means selling out future generations. The future of our planet and the health of our communities are non-negotiable."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·