A new nationwide public opinion research report produced by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) finds overwhelming support for Congressional action to provide all Americans with access to a new type of privately run pension plan.

The research also finds that 85% of Americans remain highly anxious about their retirement prospects, and see traditional pensions a way to improve their retirement readiness. According to NIRS, even though their retirement is in the distant future, virtually all millennial generation members believe the nation’s retirement system is under stress and needs to be fixed.

 “Across generations, millennials are most in tune with the risks of the system. It seems today’s younger workers want the security of their grandparents’ pension, not the do-it-yourself retirement accounts of their parents,” says Diane Oakley, NIRS’ executive director and co-author of the report.

The polling also included a deeper examination of measures Congress could introduce to make pensions more broadly available to Americans. The poll described a possible new type of privately run pension plan that would be available to all Americans; portable from job to job; allow for a regular check that lasts through retirement; and easy for employers to administer while offering professional money management. These characteristics are similar to a possible proposal by the U.S. Senate called Universal, Secure, and Adaptable (“USA”) Retirement Funds.

Some additional findings of the study:

  • When considering a new job, Americans report being nearly twice as likely to pick an employer with a pension than one with a 401(k) plan.
  • Americans feel that leaders in Washington do not understand their struggles to save for retirement.
  • More than 90% would favor a new pension plan that is available to all Americans, is portable from job to job, and provides a monthly check throughout retirement for those who contribute.
  • Americans “seem to understand” there is an economic imperative for ensuring Americans have pensions and sufficient income to retire. An overwhelming majority of Americans, (87%) say that the increasing number of Baby Boomers retiring without pensions and/or inadequate savings is straining families and the economy.

The full report, titled Pensions and Retirement Security: A Roadmap for Policymakers, is available at here

The poll was conducted by Matthew Greenwald & Associates as a nationwide telephone interview of 800 Americans age 25 or older. The data was balanced to reflect U.S. demographics for age, gender, and income.

The National Institute on Retirement Security, policy a non-profit organization established to contribute to informed policymaking by fostering a deep understanding of the value of retirement security to employees, employers, and the economy through national research and education programs. Its members include financial services firms, employee benefit plans, trade associations, and other retirement service providers.  


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