Caught another breathless “sky is falling” bit on the telly this week on pensions. As part of it, they interviewed a pension expert and put up a graph showing that a whopping 71 pension plans were frozen or terminated in 2004. (This number had risen slightly since 2003, thereby cementing the crisis concept). Clearly if you’re in one of those plans, it’s a crisis, no doubt about that.
But it got us wondering — how many plans are out there? Funny you should ask. NAM pension expert Bob Shepler tells us there were 29,651 plans in 2004. We did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation and figured out that 71 plans represented about .2% (That’s not two percent, that’s two-tenths of one percent). To put it differently, that would mean that 99.8% of all plans are not frozen or terminated. Sure puts it in context, doesn’t it?
Keep it in mind next time you read about the crisis and — worse yet — the various “solutions” floating around out there, many of which would put the 99.8% of healthy plans at risk.
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