This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 401(k), the revolutionary retirement savings vehicle that has been annihilating pension plans, empowering individuals to take part in the stock market—and that left retirees with the misfortune of leaving the workforce in 2000 or 2008 badly off.

The cracks in the system are prompting many asset managers, regulators and retirement experts to take a hard look at these 401(k) flaws and how they can be fixed. First case in point is how difficult it is for individuals inexperienced in investing to assemble an appropriate portfolio, savings rates and reallocate both.

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