Editor's pick: Originally published Dec. 22.
In the U.S., 100 executives have more in their collective retirement accounts than the combined savings of the bottom 41% of all wage earners. With a whopping $4.7 billion in assets, that's enough for these CEOs to sail off into the sunset on an average retirement check of $253,088 per month every month for the rest of their lives.
The median worker has enough put away to retire on $101 per month.
These are the results of "A Tale of Two Retirements," a research paper put out recently by the Institute for Policy Studies, a self-identified progressive think tank that researches economic and social issues such as inequality. Authors Sarah Anderson and Scott Klinger do an efficient job of mapping out just how thoroughly America's inequality crisis has reached into retirement.
And it is a worrying indictment, with the report citing troubling facts:
- Out of current 56- to 61-year-old workers, 39% anticipate depending entirely on Social Security's average $1,239 per month
- That original collection of 100 CEOs have more in retirement assets than 75% of all Latino families put together, and
- Many executives have seen their retirement accounts increase by 200 to 650% over the past six years alone.
By now, according to Anderson, the retirement gap dwarfs the income gap.
"We started doing this analysis of the top 100 CEOs versus ordinary Americans last year, because we wanted to add another dimension to the inequality debate that is often overlooked," she said. "And we aim to show in this report that this is not the result of extraordinary performance at the CEO level, but rather the result of policy shifts that have favored top executives."