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When Verizon Communications created a defined contribution (DC) plan for non-union employees, it followed conventional wisdom and offered an optional, do-it-yourself 401(k) replete with a wide choice of retail mutual funds. After all, since their inception in the 1980s, DC plans have been considered a convenient, tax-free savings vehicle that shifted risk from the employer to the employee. They were not meant to be the primary replacement for defined benefit plans (DB) payouts and other retirement income. That was then.

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