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Rekenthaler Report

Helaine Olen Boots 401(k) Plans

A fresh article, but mostly stale arguments.

The assault on 401(k) plans continues. This time, it comes from Helaine Olen, the well-reviewed author of Wall Street expose Pound FoolishLast week in Salon, Olen penned the aggressively titled article "401(k)s are a sham," as part of an even more aggressively titled Salon series called "The Age of Fraud." (Salon is nothing if not shy.)

Olen opens with a misfire, criticizing Money magazine's Tyler Mathisen for saying in 1996, "For retirement, the answer is 4-0-1-k. I feel sure that someday, like a financial Little-Engine-That-Could, it will pull me over the million-dollar mountain all by itself." Olen responds that 401(k)s did "not make us millionaires as self-appointed pundits (irony alert!) like Mathisen promised."