Retirement Looks Golden for Top CEOs, Not So Much for Average American Worker

Monday, November 02, 2015
David Novak (photo: Larry French, Getty Images)

It has been pretty well established that some corporate CEOs make hundreds of times what the average worker makes on the job. But a new report points out that that gap persists even into retirement age.


A Tale of Two Retirements” (pdf), from the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies, finds that the average CEO of a Fortune 500 company has $49.3 million socked away for his golden years. The average U.S. worker, on the other hand, has saved only $2,500 for retirement.


The report also points out:

·       The largest retirement nest egg is held by former Yum Brands CEO and current executive chairman David Novak. The executive of the company that owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut has $234 million in retirement savings. Most of the employees of his fast food chains have none.

·       The retirement assets of the 100 CEOs with the most put away come to $4.9 billion. That total equals the amount of 41% of American families, more than 116 million people.

·       Only 18% of workers are covered by a defined benefit pension plan, under which they’ll receive a fixed amount of money each month when they retire. However, 52% of Fortune 500 CEOs are covered under such a plan.

·       Nearly half of working age Americans have no access to a retirement plan at work. The median balance in a 401(k) plan at the end of 2013 was $18,433, which would provide $104 monthly upon retirement.


Additionally, the report points out that younger Americans, many of whom have crushing student loan debt, find it particularly difficult to save for retirement. Those under 40 have 7% less saved for retirement now than those in that age group did in 1983.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

The Pay Gap Will Ensure That CEOs Enjoy Luxurious Retirement While Workers Keep Struggling (by Bryce Covert, ThinkProgress)

A Tale of Two Retirements (by Scott Klinger and Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies) (pdf)

Multi-Millionaire Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein Says Americans Should Work Longer and Receive Fewer Benefits (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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