Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings
The Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings was launched in 2014 to examine the U.S. retirement system and offer public policy recommendations that could facilitate increased savings and improve the financial security of Americans in retirement.
Significant change has swept through the American retirement system. Defined benefit pensions are being replaced with defined contribution savings arrangements. Many individuals, however, do not have access to workplace retirement savings plans. Of those who do have access, many are not contributing enough and are at risk for outliving their savings. As a result, millions of Americans may be approaching retirement with inadequate savings to maintain their standards of living.
The commission is considering proposals to address these challenges, including ways to expand access to well-designed workplace retirement plans, facilitate personal savings for short-term needs as well as retirement, and preserve and strengthen Social Security for current and future generations of American workers.
Areas of focus include, but are not limited to:
- Improving federal policies for private savings. Federal law, including the tax code, contains dozens of provisions designed to encourage saving for retirement and other purposes, as well as others that provide a disincentive to save. Policy changes are needed to increase savings and retirement security, improve consumer protection, and reduce administrative burden for employers.
- Expanding access to retirement savings vehicles. Evidence shows that Americans who have access to workplace plans are much more likely to save and be prepared for retirement. Today, only about half of U.S. workers have this opportunity.
- Preserving Social Security for future generations. It is the bedrock of financial security for nearly all retired Americans, and thus, ensuring that Social Security continues to provide a base of income in retirement is imperative. One particularly important aspect is considering how its structure complements private savings.
- Increasing financial literacy and fostering a culture of personal savings. Too few Americans understand the basics of personal finance or the importance of retirement savings. A strong foundation in financial literacy is vital to empower individuals to address their own savings and financial security needs.
Leaders and Commission
Conrad represented North Dakota in the United States Senate for 26 years and served as the chairman or ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee for 12 years. Lockhart was appointed by President George W. Bush as deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Social Security Administration and later as director and chairman of the Oversight Board of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. He previously served as the executive director of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.
The co-chairs are joined on the commission by a mix of former public officials and nationally recognized experts in savings and retirement policy.
During 2014 and 2015, the commission held public events and private roundtables to inform their deliberations with a wide array of perspectives. BPC staff has published a series of white papers and blogs highlighting challenges related to the commission’s work, including short-term and retirement savings, defined contribution accounts, lifetime income, Social Security, and the intersection between homeownership and savings. The commission is developing a set of policy recommendations and modeling their impact on personal savings, retirement readiness, and the federal budget to be presented in a final report in spring 2016.
Many Americans are anxious about their retirement prospects. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that not having enough money for retirement is the number one financial worry among Americans. For some, this concern is justified, as they face the daunting prospect of running short of money in their later years. But there is considerable variation in preparedness for retirement, and the challenges are more complicated than many realize.
Rethinking Retirement Plans
October 21, 2015
Starting to Save: Innovations for Working America
July 14, 2015
Threats to Retirement Security: Longevity, Long-Term Care and Leakage
November 20, 2014
Retirement Security: What’s Working and What’s Not?
July 30, 2014
Launch of the Personal Savings Initiative
April 23, 2014
How Does Social Security Redistribute Earnings?
March 29, 2016
Rising Home Equity But Declining Homeownership
February 17, 2016
Declining Poverty, but Persistent Disparities
February 9, 2016
Workers Move Around, So Should Their 401(k)
January 15, 2016
Will Millennials Save More Than Their Parents?
January 14, 2016
Prize-Linked Savings: Powerball’s Responsible Younger Sibling
January 13, 2016
Treasury Offers New “myRA” Option for Retirement Savings
November 9, 2015
Encouraging Retirement Savings in the Tax Code
October 19, 2015
Home Equity: Savings for Retirement?
July 7, 2015
The $1.2 Trillion Problem Hurting Americans’ Savings
June 10, 2015
Making Your 401(k) Last a Lifetime
March 25, 2015
Barriers to Savings: Asset Tests
March 13, 2015
Disability Insurance Trust Fund Solvency: Act Now and Later
February 27, 2015
Social Security Disability Insurance in Obama’s 2016 Budget
February 3, 2015
Understanding Proposed Reforms to Military Retirement
February 3, 2015
Obama’s Budget Highlights Retirement Security
February 2, 2015
Is MyRA the Only Way
January 26, 2015
Illinois Enacts Major Retirement Security Legislation
January 7, 2015
Congress to New Federal Employees: Diversify Your Portfolios!
December 22, 2014
Kline-Miller: Making Tough Choices to Improve Solvency for Retiree Plans
December 15, 2014
Lotteries with No Losers Have the Green Light
December 15, 2014
Multiemployer Plans in Trouble
November 24, 2014
Private-sector Defined Benefit Plans and the PBGC
November 10, 2014
Defined Benefit Plans: Where’d They Go?
October 28, 2014
Needing Help: Long-Term Care Risk
October 14, 2014
New Staff Paper Focuses on Diversity in Retirement Preparedness
October 7, 2014
Outliving Your Savings: Longevity Risk
September 29, 2014
U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Holds Hearing on Retirement Savings Reform
September 24, 2014
Leakage: Taking the Money Too Early
September 19, 2014
The Impact of Automatic Features in Defined Contribution Plans
September 11, 2014
Defined Contribution Retirement Accounts: The New Normal
August 20, 2014
Households near retirement don’t have enough savings
June 17, 2014
A Shift to Defined Contribution Retirement Plans
June 10, 2014
Americans are not prepared for financial emergencies
June 3, 2014
Americans are saving less than we used to
May 27, 2014
Why is BPC Launching a Personal Savings Initiative?
April 22, 2014
U.K. Budget Proposes Pension and Savings Changes
April 10, 2014