|Posted on April 21, 2009 at 12:00 AM|
CBS) The effects of the current economic crisis have touched everyone. Even if you still have a good job and a paid up mortgage, chances are your monthly 401(k) statement will remind you that you've lost a good chunk of your savings. Trillions of dollars have evaporated from those accounts that have become the prime source of retirement funds for a majority of American workers, affecting their psyche and their future. If you are still young enough, there's time to rebuild and recover, but if you are in your 50s, 60s or beyond the consequences can be dire, and its drawing attention to the shortcomings of a retirement system that has jeopardized the financial security of tens of millions of people. It was a gray, chilly morning in midtown Manhattan and a line of unemployed, mostly white-collar workers, stretched for blocks around the Radisson Hotel. More than 1,000 middle managers, stockbrokers, consultants, secretaries and receptionists had come hoping to find a job. It was called a career fair, but there was no merriment - only a whiff of desperation. Many of the people at the career fair have been out of work for months and burned through their liquid assets; their future, even bleaker than the present. Alan Weir, who turns 60 this month, showed 60 Minutes his latest 401(k) statement, which he hadn't had the courage to open up. "I'm afraid," he told correspondent Steve Kroft. There's good reason for his trepidation: nearly half of his life savings have vanished in a matter of months. "It went down again," Weir told Kroft, after opening the statement. Overall, he said he was down about $140,000.