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Retirement confidence has hit a wall. It’s bad enough when workers in private employer plans are fumbling for a revolutionary turnaround with their accounts, but when lawmakers can’t pay up on pension promises, the need for a better alternative becomes evident.

Late last year, The Business Insider revealed 11 states at risk of running short on pension funding. Hardest hit is Middle America. In Kansas, lawmakers are debating just this week whether to shift public employees to smaller retirement checks under the state’s current benefits formula (with some workers getting no pension, but lump-sum account balances) or kick up retirement benefits but have employees add to the pot by chipping in up to 8 percent of their paychecks.

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