401(k) Plan Has Been a Disaster for Black Workers (And a Wealth Transfer to Wall Street for Everyone Else)

by Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, shows that Black workers experienced devastating declines in their defined contribution plan balances (mostly 401(k) plans) between 2007 and 2013 – an experience not shared by White workers.

According to the GAO, Black working households’ median 401(k) balance declined by a stunning 47 percent between 2007 to 2013, the latest date for which data is available. The median balance for Black working households in 2007 stood at $31,100 versus $16,400 in 2013. To put that 47 percent decline into sharper focus, the GAO found that the 401(k) balance for White working households “did not change significantly over the same period.”

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