Help! Somebody Please Get this Monkey Off My Back!

9 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2007 Last revised: 2 Jan 2008


According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the slang phrase monkey on my back refers to a burdensome personal problem, situation, responsibility, or encumbrance. Query: is there a better verbal description of the impact that the dramatic sea-change in Corporate America's retirement income strategy, from defined-benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution (DC) plans, has had on employees?

The following analysis will identify the major monkeys that this transition has placed upon the worker's back, and will consist of three Parts: (1) characteristics of the former defined benefit (DB) plan era, as compared to (2) characteristics of the current defined contribution (DC) plan period, and finally, (3) conclusions.

Keywords: defined benefit, defined contribution, ERISA, retirement

JEL Classification: C53, D31, D63, E21, G23, J26

Suggested Citation

Hamilton, Brooks, Help! Somebody Please Get this Monkey Off My Back!. Available at SSRN: or

Brooks Hamilton (Contact Author)

Brooks Hamilton & Partners ( email )

5353 Keller Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75248-2763
United States
972-839-5260 (Phone)


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