11. Financial Aspects of Pension and Retirement Programs

$6,080,800,000,000. That number is the value of the financial assets invested in U.S. private pension plans at the end of 2011.1 Because it is sometimes difficult to grasp how large a number like $6 trillion is, it may be useful to provide a few comparison points. In fy 2011 total expenditures by the U.S. government, including the military, social security, Medicare and everything else, were $3.6 trillion. Total tax receipts were $2.3 trillion, and the federal budget deficit was $1.3 trillion.2 It’s hard to overstate the financial significance of pension plans in the U.S. economy. How this $6 trillion is invested has a substantial impact on both U.S. and global capital markets. At the corporate ...

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