Defined benefit pension plans would need median accrual rates of 1 to 3 percent of final compensation for each year of participation to provide retirement income equal to voluntary enrollment 401(k) plans.

A study by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute found that these rates would go down if investment returns fell and annuity prices went up between 0.6 to 1.6 percent per year.

EBRI conducted research on how generous a traditional pension plan would have to be to produce as much retirement income as a 401(k) plan.

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