Ten years ago, working in hospital, lunched with friends everyday for years, one single woman bit the bullet and put in for retirement at 67. Met with retirement specialist. Starts crying at lunch, because she just found out after working there since graduation, the pension she relied upon would give her $300 a month for life. "I was counting on that pension." I felt horrible for her but everyone at the table was shocked, then horrified that this would be their situation. I was younger by decades but did not understand. Only one other person put money in the 403B. Granted, many were married to a spouse with a better salary /pension. But IMO counting on anyone else, even a spouse, is foolhardy, divorce is not cheap. Still- we got a yearly statement outlining what you were on track to receive at retirement. If you're single, 67 and going to get $300 a month, wouldn't that have freaked you out many years earlier and you would've tried to figure out a way to improve the situation?
Flash forward 8 yrs, working for hospice, same parent company. Big meeting with head of benefits. Defined benefit pension no more, cap on what you had vested. No surprise to anyone reading a newspaper (but have to laugh, after working full time for over 20yrs, mine was worth 30k). More people in this room had been doing the 403B, at same meeting, it was announced match was being cut in half. Here we are a roomful of hospice people, lowest paid group in the company's system, you are not in it for the money, you're in it because you love it. Fine, but choosing to live a life of low pay service, you had best have a plan for taking care of yourself, right?
A social worker (one would think a position that knows a little about what happens to you in old age if you fail to plan, we saw it every single day) raised her hand and said, "I never even knew we had this pension, thank you for keeping it as long as you could." This was the STUPIDEST thing I ever heard at work. Until the head of benefits said, "you are so welcome!" Amazingly, we did not give him a standing ovation or start doing the Wave.