General Information About Retirement

There Are Many Different Sources of Income in Retirement

Social Security benefits are a critically important source of retirement income for most older Americans, but they were never intended to provide enough money for them to live comfortably. It was assumed that older individuals would also have income from savings and a workplace retirement plan.

There Are Many Types of Workplace Retirement Plans

The two main categories are pensions, often called defined benefit plans, and retirement savings plans, called defined contribution plans, such as  401(k) plans and 403(b) plans.  How your retirement plan works, what your benefit will look like when you retire, whether you can pass your benefit on to your children, and whether you need to contribute your own money into the plan will all depend in large part on whether your plan is a pension plan or a retirement savings plan.

In addition to the type of plan you have, the kind of employer you have will also affect how your retirement plan works. For instance, the laws regulating your retirement benefits differ depending on whether you worked for a government, a private employer, or a religious organization.  They also can differ if your plan is offered by more than one employer.

The resources below explain how the different types of retirement plan work, key concepts and terms that often come up when people talk about retirement, and helpful information that can apply to many different types of retirement plans. You will also find important facts and figures about retirement benefits in the United States.

General Information About Retirement Highlights:


Why Pensions Are Important


Income of Today’s Older Adults

03/29/23 |Pension Rights Center

How many American workers participate in workplace retirement plans?

The Latest on General Information About Retirement:

Blogs & Newsletters

When Swimming in 401(k) Asset Transfer Water: Beware of Sharks

By David Brandolph I expect a 401(k)-type plan customer service call center to be a place to get impartial information about the plan and one’s account. But a recent experience with a center representative has made me question the impartiality of anyone—including such a representative–who recommends transferring plan assets to an IRA, particularly if that […]

Blogs & Newsletters

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Features Pension Rights Center

By David Brandolph Pension Rights Center Executive Director Karen Friedman was recently interviewed on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (the interview begins at 27:48) about current retirement issues.   Referring to the protests over retirement issues in France, Friedman started the interview by telling Nader and co-hosts Steve Skovran and David Feldman that “Retirement issues are so […]

Blogs & Newsletters

Racial and Income Inequities Threaten Older Workers’ Retirement Security, Study Shows

By Jane Smith A joint study from The New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) provides insight into the systemic inequities and retirement challenges faced by lower income workers, particularly Black and Hispanic people and women. As a result, many people  must overcome substantial hurdles to achieve […]

Comments & Letters

PRC, National Women’s Law Center, and WISER comments to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board on new TSP recordkeeping system

PRC, National Women’s Law Center, and WISER offered comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board and the ways in which the Thrift Savings Plan’s new recordkeeping system will impact the rights of participants and beneficiaries. Read the full comments here.

Blogs & Newsletters

Don’t Put Your Retirement Assets at Risk–Avoid Becoming a ‘Money Mule’

By David Brandolph Everyone needs to know about a type of financial scam that’s been exploding in frequency and could cause victims to lose their life savings, including their retirement nest egg. The scam uses “money mules” to hide or launder illegally obtained money. Money mules are people recruited by fraudsters to receive funds coming […]

PRC In the News
03/14/22|Money Talks News

The Average Retirement Income in 2022

How are you going to pay for retirement? How is everyone else doing it? What is the average retirement income for 2022? Has it changed a lot from past years as we emerge from the pandemic? Are you anywhere close to average?

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