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Consumer Confidential: Average CEO has to make do with $253,088 in monthly pension payments

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

In 1998, about half of all private-sector employers in the United States offered newly hired workers a defined-benefit pension for their retirement.

By 2015, that percentage dropped to just 5 percent, according to the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson.

Nearly all private-sector workers now make do with a 401(k) plan -- and the average 401(k) balance is roughly $95,000, which comes nowhere close to what the typical American will require in their sunset years.

By the age of 65, experts say, someone making $75,000 annually should have at least eight times their annual salary socked away, or a minimum of $600,000.

Which brings us to Richard Smith, 57, the former chief executive of credit agency Equifax, who this week has been on Capitol Hill testifying before members of Congress about the security breach that exposed the personal information of about 145 million consumers to hackers.

Smith "retired" last week with a more than $18 million pension.

In other words, you may be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your financial life thanks to Equifax. The company's former boss never has to work again.

And Smith's not alone. Many CEOs of large companies have pensions coming their way as part of their compensation packages.

The Institute for Policy Studies estimates that the top 100 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies can expect an average pension check of $253,088 monthly.

Let's underline that: Almost a quarter of a million dollars. Every month. For the rest of their lives.

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