Willimantic, Conn. – Eastern Connecticut State University Professor of Sociology James W. Russell will have his latest book, “Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis,” published on April 29 through Beacon Press. The book, which will be sold in stores across the country, breaks down the United States’ looming retirement crisis, the result of the emergence of 401(k)-type plans replacing traditional pension plans.
“For the past 30 years, we’ve been advised that the best way to build one’s nest egg is to invest in 401(k)-type programs,” said Russell. “This financial experiment has come full circle, with tens of millions of Americans now discovering that they would have been better off under traditional pension plans long since replaced.”
The mass transition from pensions to 401(k)-type plans started in 1981 due to the implementation of regulations of the Revenue Act of 1978. The idea was that “defined contribution” programs like the 401(k) coincide with American capitalist values better than “defined benefit” programs like the pension.
However, Russell argues that the reality of the 401(k) is far different—and more detrimental—than the intention. “401(k)s do a better job of supporting Wall Street than they do retirement,” said Russell. “The enormously powerful financial services industry benefits from the current growth of defined contribution plans [like the 401(k)] from which it draws commissions, interest payments and management fees.”
“James Russell has penned a book that will enrage citizens of all ages and political persuasions, illuminate them about the organized robbery of their economic futures by the financial services industry, and inspire them to action,” wrote Nomi Prins, author of “All the Presidents’ Bankers” and “It Takes a Pillage.”
In “Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis,” Russell delves into the history of retirement in the United States, case studies of other 401(k)-type plans in other countries, myths and realities of “defined contribution” and “defined benefit plans”, suggestions for reform and more. “I wanted to write a book not just for academics, but for the general public,” said Russell when describing his intention for the book. “Awareness of the ‘swindle’ needs to be raised.”
Russell is considered an international authority on retirement policy. He is the author of several books dealing with economic and social policy, as well articles featured in a number of publications. He has taught in universities across the United States and as a Fulbright senior researcher professor in Mexico and the Czech Republic.
“Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis” will be available in stores April 29.