The 401(k) Road Trip Team Returns with Tales of Pessimism, Progress

How much 401(k) fees chip away at your retirement
How much 401(k) fees chip away at your retirement

Recently, The Online 401(k) team was hanging out near Union Square in Manhattan, doing their last few interviews for their independent documentary, Broken Eggs: The Looming Retirement Crisis in America

Dressed in crisply ironed shirts, looking just a bit tan, their refreshed appearance belied the six sweaty weeks they'd just spent on the road in their trusty 1970s-era VW bus, on a cross-country trip to take soundings of our nation's soured financial dreams.

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The initial trailer for the film (below) shows Americans have no shortage of pessimism about their retirement prospects.

"This is the U.S., man," a mustachioed elderly gentleman in a cowboy hat says. "What ever happened to the dream, you know, of the U.S? Everybody in life is in a race to a stoplight."

Translation: At the end of the road, these days, Social Security won't even cover many people's insurance policies. Folks around the country had similarly grim sentiments about their dwindling or non-existent 401(k)s.

And though the people in the clip above were glib about the retirement crisis, there is an air of tension surrounding the topic.

"401(k) is the new 'F word'," said Andrew Meadows, consumer and brand ambassador at The Online 401(k). "It's like talking about your dysfunctional family or your sex lives. People aren't prepared, and it's awkward."


The current reality of our retirement prospects is, after all, a somber one:

  • 46% of American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

  • 74% of American workers expect to keep working once they "retire" and 40% expect to keep working until they drop.

  • 36% of Americans say they don't contribute anything to retirement.

And though the documentary team from The Online 401(k) came back from the trip with a little less money than they had planned in the retirement fund -- having left $375 in Schurz, Nev., where a cop nabbed them for speeding -- capturing some of this collective dialogue on retirement proved valuable on its own in the midst of this crisis.

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