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Testimony by Kent Conrad and James Lockhart on Retirement Security to the Senate Special Committee on Aging

By Kent Conrad, James B. Lockhart, III

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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“Millions of Americans are anxious about their preparation for retirement. A Gallup poll earlier this year found that 64 percent of Americans are either very worried or moderately worried about not having enough money for retirement, making it their top financial concern in the survey. Recent economic headwinds—stagnating wages and weak economic growth—have heightened these anxieties and made it difficult for many individuals to save even for short-term needs, let alone retirement. A recent study by the Federal Reserve found that around half of adults would be unable to come up with even $400 in an emergency without borrowing or selling possessions.

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“Several specific challenges are contributing to these outcomes. Less than half of private-sector workers are participating in a workplace retirement savings plan. Many Americans lack the income or resources to save for short-term needs, forcing them to raid their retirement accounts for unexpected expenses. Even among those who do save, Americans are living longer, and many are increasingly at risk of outliving their savings. Home equity, when it lasts until retirement, is underutilized. Millions of Americans lack the basic knowledge to manage their personal finances and prepare for retirement. Finally, Social Security is facing a significant financial shortfall and is in need of modernization for a 21st century workforce. It’s no wonder that policymakers are concerned about the consequences of insufficient retirement savings for individuals, families, and the nation.

“To address these challenges, the Bipartisan Policy Center launched the Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings in 2014. Over the past two years, our 19-member commission carefully reviewed the issues and explored many potential approaches that would boost savings and strengthen retirement security.”

KEYWORDS: JIM LOCKHART, KENT CONRAD

Attached files