For two decades, the U.S. retirement plan industry rode the momentum of a huge 401(k) wave. Now, it feels as if the wave has come crashing down.

The frustration that employers and employees feel toward 401(k)s was dramatized by Time magazine’s October 9 cover story, Why It’s Time to Retire the 401(k). In an uncharacteristic display of emotion, the magazine called 401(k)s “a lousy idea, a financial flop, a rotten repository for our retirement reserves.”

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