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Rekenthaler Report

A Brief History of 401(k)s

The evolution of an accident.

Unintended Consequences
I presented in late April at a "Global Retirement Savings Summit," held in Tokyo, on the characteristics of the default funds used by U.S. defined-contribution plans.

Now there's a sentence to chase away readers! However, my tale was much broader than the title suggests. To understand today's default funds requires understanding yesterday's 401(k) plans--and how the defined-contribution industry has evolved over the past 35 years.