The father of the 401(k) on how his invention has reshaped retirement

Hosted by Courtney Vien

In 1980, Ted Benna, owner of Pennsylvania benefits consulting company The Johnson Companies, developed the 401(k) savings plan, forever changing the way Americans save for retirement. In this podcast, Benna, now the owner of Benna401(k), a consulting firm that helps small businesses choose and implement retirement plans, talks about how and why he came up with the 401(k), its advantages and drawbacks, how he’d change it if given the chance, and how it’s reshaped retirement.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How Ted Benna developed the idea of the 401(k) savings plan (1:58).
  • How the 401(k) has changed retirement (8:14).
  • Why the 401(k) isn’t responsible for the decline of pensions (9:52).
  • How Benna would improve the 401(k) (15:37).

Play the episode below:


To comment on this podcast or to suggest an idea for another podcast, contact Courtney Vien, a JofA senior editor, at

Sponsored by:

Sage -- Accounting for Change