When pension funds were first started in Germany in the mid-19th century, this retirement option made sense, says Amit Mohindra, director of research at the Institute for Corporate Productivity. At the time, employees would typically stay with one employer for their entire careers. Thus, it was reasonable to expect employers to take care of their former employees once they hit the retirement age.

“The market was pretty stable back then, and companies could make promises, and stocks would return enough to let them meet their obligations,” Mohindra says. “But what’s happening now is people don’t necessarily spend their whole career with one organization, and I sense employees have less of an expectation that when they join a company that company will continue look after them past retirement.”

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