Two recent surveys contain some unsettling results for today's workers planning to retire in thirty years, and it's the workers' own fault (see "Will Plan Sponsors Leave the Under-30 Crowd Doomed to Repeat 401(k) History?"). All this means, though, is the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Let's hop on the Wayback Machine and head back to the 1980s, when hair was big, music was nerdy and rugged individualism was the mantra. Strange as it may seem, all three touched on this new retirement plan known as the 401(k). With its participant choice option, the 401(k) plan was certainly tailored for the individual in all of us.

With the growing power of personal computer spreadsheet software, charting investment strategies appealed to our inner nerd. Finally, with 30 or more years until retirement, those young workers astute enough to actually save had visions of more than big hair dancing in their bank accounts.

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook ( Twitter (