It’s all very well for Boeing to pass off its pension plan to its employees in the form of 401(k) deposits. This sounds fine and dandy in as much as each person can manipulate his or her retirement account to meet intended retirement goals. However, in this day and age of volatile markets it’s not as easy as it sounds. Forty years ago one could invest in a list of “blue chip” companies and sit around and watch your investment grow. Not today; managing retirement accounts is a job for professionals. The commercial world changes rapidly and a solid company today might hit the skids tomorrow. So a constant eye must be kept on your portfolio in order to maintain its value. Leave it alone for a year and you might find your retirement account has disappeared.
The point being that Boeing employees (and now most others) have to come home after a long day’s work in the factory and spend a few hours at night nurturing the retirement plan; a very stressful situation. To do it means losing peace and leisure time and not to do so means disaster in the future. You can see why companies are anxious to get rid of this burden. To meet expected retirement goals for their employees would mean hiring investment consultants at great cost. It’s much better for them to dump the whole job on the individual employee. Good luck to all of them.