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Retirement Savings and Security: An American Imperative

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Washington, D.C. – Saving for retirement to ensure financial security in later years is a goal shared by all Americans that unfortunately is not always within easy reach.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings conducted an in-depth review of the obstacles preventing employers and employees from contributing to the financial security of working Americans and released its findings and recommendations today in Securing Our Financial Future: Recommendations for Retirement Security and Personal Savings.

“Many Americans struggle to save. Millions are anxious about their retirement and their ability to accumulate a savings cushion for short-term unexpected needs,” former Sen. Kent Conrad, commission co-chair, said. “These challenges call for comprehensive solutions. We are encouraged in the bipartisan interest to address these issues and hope the commission’s recommendations will contribute to meaningful action to achieve a secure retirement future for all Americans.”

This report presents a comprehensive package of bipartisan proposals to address six key challenges:

  • Many Americans’ inability to access workplace retirement savings plans
  • Insufficient personal savings for short-term needs, which lead individuals to raid retirement savings
  • Risk of outliving retirement savings
  • Failure to build and use home equity to support retirement security
  • Lack of basic knowledge about personal finance
  • Social Security’s unsustainable finances and outdated program structure

“Taken together, the recommendations in this report aim to establish a better savings culture to produce an adequate retirement across the income spectrum for current and future generations of Americans,” James B. Lockhart III, commission co-chair, said. “Our commission developed proposals to address one of the most glaring problems: access to a workplace retirement savings plan.”

To improve access to workplace retirement savings plans, the commission recommends the creation of “Retirement Security Plans” that would allow small employers to transfer most responsibilities of operating a retirement savings plan to a third-party expert and band together to lower costs and administrative burden. Also recommended are improvements to the myRA program that would help part-time and seasonal workers least likely to be offered a retirement savings plan by their employer.

Those are just two of the many recommendations offered by the commission to help all Americans save for their future. For someone just starting out in the workforce to someone nearing retirement, the commission offers proposals intended to help them achieve financial security.

KEYWORDS: COMMISSION ON RETIREMENT SECURITY AND PERSONAL SAVINGS, JIM LOCKHART, KENT CONRAD