'A Tale of Two Retirements': New Report Blasts Rigged Rules That Favor Corporate Execs

Imagine a retirement account worth over $49.3 million.

For 100 Fortune 500 CEOs, it’s no dream—it’s their average retirement nest egg, according to a report, A Tale of Two Retirements, released Wednesday by the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Underscoring the nation’s inequality, the CEOs’ retirement assets together total $4.9 billion, the same amount as that held by 50 million families—41 percent of American families—combined.

“The CEO-worker retirement divide has turned our country’s already extreme income divide into an even wider economic chasm,” said Sarah Anderson, IPS Global Economy Project director.

Take Honeywell CEO David Cote, who, the report notes, has promoted cuts to Social Security and is a founding member of the pro-austerity group Fix the Debt.  He stands to get a monthly retirement check of over $948,000, while General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt stands to take in $463,000 a month.

David Novak, who was CEO of YUM Brands in 2014 and is now Executive Chairman, tops the list with largest retirement assets of $234 million.  That puts him on a path to receive a monthly retirement check of $1.3 million.

Those amounts make President Obama’s monthly retirement check of $16,975 look like a mere pittance. More importantly, they put into sharp relief the economic chasm between the CEOs and ordinary Americans. As a separate report released earlier this year showed, 55 percent (pdf) of those aged 50-64 will get about $1,200 a month, as they will have to rely nearly entirely on Social Security.

The report adds that nearly half of all working age Americans have no access to any retirement plan at work, while even for those who do have a 401(k) plan—a plan “where workers, not employers, bear the investment risk”—at the end of 2013 the average total was $18,433, equaling a monthly retirement check of $104. The report adds:

But are these CEO retirement assets just compensation for exemplary work? Hardly, says Scott Klinger, director of Revenue and Spending Policies at the Center for Effective Government.