I see the IRA, 401(k) and the like as a social experiment of staggering proportions. A few decades from now history will tell us whether these plans generally succeeded or failed. Unfortunately, failure will not be limited to the households living in poverty. It will impact the entire economy. Thus, regardless of our personal values, beliefs and politics, the risk is indeed a shared risk. In my opinion the evidence so far isn't very encouraging. These voluntary savings plans may work well for us...But ...we're a distinct minority...more numerous than south paws, but probably not by much.