Lars Larson: People plan better when government doesn’t force them

by Lars Larson

Guess what? People do better on their own if the government isn’t telling them how to plan for their own future, and I’ve got proof.

There’s a brand new study out on 401(k)s. You know, where you put money aside for your retirement. I’ve got one; many of you do as well.

Some of the companies that offer these 401(k) plans were allowed back in the mid-2000’s to start mandating that people be enrolled in them. In other words, they forced their employees to do the “right thing”.

So you get more compliance, right? No, wrong.

It turns out when you study millions of these accounts around the country, those people who are allowed to voluntarily enroll in a 401(k) put more money away. Those people who were forced to do it, because the government allows employers to force them to do the “right thing”, put less money away.

If the government would just leave Americans alone, let them make their own decisions and understand the consequences, we’d all be better off.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Government Regulation, Individual Responsiblity | 38 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • HoboJoe

    Frankly I would rather have the government help me with my retirement because I am out of work, so have no money to invest for myself. With the gov helping I will have the money I need to retire.
    Actually, it is like being retired now, as I don’t work.
    But I am getting along OK with gov assistance.

  • HoboJoe

    Frankly I would rather have the government help me with my retirement because I am out of work, so have no money to invest for myself. With the gov helping I will have the money I need to retire.
    Actually, it is like being retired now, as I don’t work.
    But I am getting along OK with gov assistance.

  • Founding Fathers

    You’ll notice that Lars doesn’t link to the study, doesn’t mention who did the study.

    Also, from Lars’ description, it sounds like it was the companies that were mandating that employees enroll, not the government, so maybe the conclusion to be drawn is that people don’t plan as well when “The Man” is forcing them to.

    It never ceases to amaze me that an incompetent boob like Lars draws a hefty paycheck.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Considering you thought Lars made up operation Fast and Furious and clearly had no idea of what the program was or the scandal surrounding it, this is especially hilarious.

      • Founding Fathers

        Deflecting again, Rupert.

        Generally, when someone is talking about something worthwhile, they’re actually cite the study they’re talking about, in order to make it easier to go to the primary source.

        Lars hasn’t done it–he’s been quite vague. And, even given the paltry information he’s given, it looks as though Lars has come to an erroneous conclusion–the government has ALLOWED companies to require participation. I thought Lars was all for less government intrusion.

  • Charliepizzalightblue

    Larsy is. Like fox news always talks over and rudely interrupts anyone who don’t agree with him.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Actually this is one area where Lars is better than most. Clearly you dont listen to the radio program.

      Lars has many faults, especially his childish behaviour anytime transgender issues come up. However when callers dont agree with him and start rambling on, he gives them several clear warnings that he doesn’t allow ranting. You need to make your point in a reasonably concise manner. I have never heard him cut someone off without giving them fair warning before hand.

      • valley dude

        Lars has a “fault” on transgender issues only because you disagree with him on that particular issue Rupert. That doesn’t make it a “fault,” its just an opinion you don’t share with him. When you do share opinions with him he isn’t at “fault?” That is what…because your opinions are not at “fault?”

        Lars doesn’t allow ranting? He is ranter in chief. You mean he doesn’t allow others to rant. And yes, I have listened to him from time to time.

      • Founding Fathers

        Actually, Rupert, if someone disagrees with him but doesn’t know what they’re talking about, he’ll let them ramble on. If they actually know what they’re talking about, though, Lars will interrupt repeatedly, then go into his “I”m just trying to have a conversation” BS.

  • valley dude

    Lars doesn’t bother citing the study in question, but lets take him at face value. The people who are “forced” to put money way are not forced.   Its a difference between electing to contribute versus an automatic minimal contribution with an opt out clause. A lot more people are putting into retirement savings because of the new policy. That they don’t choose to put as much away as those who were voluntarily contributing is not a surprise and proves absolutely nothing.

    The conclusion should be that if more people are saving something, then there is more “compliance,” if by compliance we mean more people putting money away. If we mean everyone puts the same amount away, no, but then that wasn’t the goal in any case. 

    If the government just leaves people alone, many or most won’t bother to enroll in a 401K or IRA until later in life when it is too late to build a sufficient nest egg. As far as understanding the consequences, most young people do not think or plan 30 or 40 years ahead. I even doubt Lars thought ahead that far when he was a young lad.

  • 3H

    Yes… even when a private company “forces” their employess to do something, it is still the Government’s fault.  How convenient – I wish my view of the world was so simplistic.

    It would be nice to see the study because I have several questions.  Is there a difference in income or job type between those who voluntarily invest and those that are required to invest by their employer?   Are the amounts different but the percentage of income the same?  Who knows? How can we, he doesn’t like linking to his source.  His idea of “proof” is much less rigorous than mine.

    It does prove one thing – Lars’ training is unnecessary when you move from being a journalist to being an entertainer.

    • Founding Fathers

      Lars the Journalist must be rolling in his grave at what Lars the Talk Show Host has become.

  • just doing the math

    I honestly don’t know how people can stand to listen to his radio talk
    show for very long. The one time I tried, all I seem to hear was ranting from
    call ins, ranting from Lars, and vast amounts of loud commercials. Clearly, I
    do not listen to his radio talk show, because any potential message just gets
    lost in all the noise.

  • Founding Fathers

    Lars associates with a criminal enterprise:

  • wnd

    I agree with Lars on most issues on his lambastion agenda.
    Two, in particular, I do not, e.g. – snorting for Walmart and cigars – IMO, both effusively stink’n and ought be aired out to wry outside Earth’s utmosphere. 

  • nowOlderAndWiser

    My company encouraged me to enroll in the 401K many, many years ago.  The had classes to show how a 401K worked.  If they had not done that, I would not have the necessary retirement income that I have now.  Unfortunately, many people in their twenties don’t understand the benefit.  They mostly see the money they will be missing monthly.  While I don’t agree with forcing people, the said truth is, we need to better educate our twenty somethings……

    • valley person

      I agree with you, but the 20 and 30 somethings I work with have very high college debts, much higher housing expenses than we did at their age (even accounting for inflation), and are starting families. They feel too squeezed  to set aside anything in the 401K. I tell them just do it. even a small amount just to get started. But its a tough sell, which is why the automatic enrollment with an opt out provision makes sense.

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