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Ted Benna: The Inside Scoop From The Founder Of The 401k

Stan Haithcock
May 3, 2022
Ted Benna: The Inside Scoop From The Founder Of The 401k

About Fun With Annuities Episode #107

There are not too many people that can say they changed the majority of American's lives for the better, and be able to show a dollar figure to prove it. Ted Benna is one of those unique people.  An actual unicorn.  A visionary.

Ted Benna invented the 401k.  So every person that has participated in their company’s 401k owe Ted a “thank you” note for creating a company-backed retirement structure that contractually forces you to save.  That’s a big deal.  That’s like someone figuring out a way to make everyone exercise every day and eat better.  Ted Benna was the main reason that companies match your 401k contributions. I mentioned to Ted during the podcast that I think he should receive the Presidential Medal of Honor for what he has given this country and its people.  I’m not kidding!

To have Ted on the podcast was like having financial royalty enter the building.  No one in the financial industry will ever leave the positive legacy that Ted Benna will leave to society.  I enjoyed this podcast with Ted because he told the story of how the 401k happened.  The struggles.  Dealing with the IRS.  Pushing ropes with dumb lawyers, and convincing the employees of that first company to take the 401k leap of faith with him.  Growing up on a dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania taught Ted a lot of things, one of them being able to work hard and persist.  Thank goodness that foundation was in place when he came up with the idea of the 401k and the reality that he would have to go to DC to get it implemented.

Ted has written numerous books, but you need to buy 2 of them:

That’s an easy way to say “thank you” to a person who has earned it.  Ted Benna.  Remember that name and enjoy the podcast.

"The biggest benefit of it [401k] is that it has actually helped convert spenders into savers - most employees would not do this if they had to do it on their own… enables them into becoming successful savers" —  Ted Benna.

Brief Bio on Co-host: Ted Benna

Benna401k, LLC is a consulting firm founded by Ted Benna, commonly referred to as the “father of the 401k” because he created and gained IRS approval of the first 401(k) savings plan. He has received many citations for his accomplishments including:

  • Investment News Icon & Innovators Award – 2017
  • 2001 National Jefferson Award recipient for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen
  • 2001 Player of the Year selected by Defined Contribution News
  • One of eight individuals selected by Money Magazine for its special 20th Anniversary Issue Hall of Fame
  • Selected by Business Insurance as one the four People of the Century
  • One of ten selected by Mutual Fund Market News for its special 10th Anniversary Issue Legends in Our Own Time
  • Lifetime Achievement Award by Defined Contribution News 2005

In this episode, The Annuity Man and Ted Benna discuss:

  • From spender to saver
  • Getting more money in the long run
  • Employees should care about employees
  • Investing faster in your retirement

Key Takeaways:

  • The biggest help that 401k’s have provided is that they converted employees from being spenders into savers
  • A 401k plan enables an employee to essentially get more money in the long run and have more resources to use when they retire.
  • Because of the 401k, employers are now forced to care for their employees. They have to have some plans that benefit an employee's future to stay competitive in the market.
  • When you’re building a nest egg for retirement, it’s better to do it faster rather than slower. If you’re saving pre-tax, you’ll be able to invest more money into your future rather than doing it after tax.

Fun With Annuities® Podcast is hosted by America’s Annuity Agent®, Stan Haithcock, The Annuity Man®. Hear brutal annuity facts with no sales pitches from the top independent agent in the country, licensed in all 50 states. Author of 7 books, Stan dives deep on all annuity types and strategies. It’s fun, learning the contractual truths on how annuities actually work and if they’ll fit your personal retirement lifestyle.

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