How far the 401(k) has come since employers first introduced the savings plan in 1981. And how far it has yet to go. 401(k)s, I predict, will become universal in our lifetimes, supplanting all forms of pension plans.

The first time I heard about 401(k)s, when I entered the workforce in 1982, was from a fellow classmate from the University of Pennsylvania, who was familiar with then-esoteric 401(k) section of the IRS code (then being touted merely as a tax benefit), since she worked as an accountant for Coopers & Lybrand.

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