How will we help the millions of workers who lack access to workplace retirement plans? Answers are beginning to emerge through a patchwork of solutions from state governments and federal lawmakers. But a piecemeal approach can’t truly solve this problem. Instead, we need a uniform national framework that eliminates obstacles for employers and helps more American workers achieve retirement readiness.
At the heart of the problem are the roughly one-third of workers who have no access to a workplace retirement plan, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. policymakers have put in place programs and guidance to address the coverage shortfall, including the federal myRA program and a proposed Department of Labor rule that would let states require employers who don’t sponsor retirement plans to auto-enroll their workers in state-run IRAs.
Lawmakers have a responsibility to craft legislation and regulations that will help employers of all sizes offer consistent, effective retirement plans to their workers.
These efforts are a good start, but they don’t go far enough. State Street Global Advisors believes that policymakers at the federal level, including Congress and the departments of Labor and Treasury, have a responsibility to craft legislation and regulations that will help employers of all sizes offer consistent, effective retirement plans to their workers.
To be effective, a uniform national framework needs to encourage workers to save and invest appropriately for their time horizon.
The solution should include the following key elements:
1. Required auto-enrollment into defined contribution plans that must be maintained by all employers for all workers;
2. Elimination of regulatory obstacles to sponsoring “open” multiple-employer plans;
3. Use of auto-escalation and default investment options, such as target-date funds;
4. Enhanced tax credits for small employers to cover the administrative costs of implementing these plans.
This national framework must be simple enough to foster widespread participation by all employers and employees. We believe this approach is the best option to address the critical issue of workers’ access to retirement plans, and to help make retirement work for all.
Lend your voice
Building a national approach requires input from business owners, federal policymakers and the retirement industry. We propose hosting a summit in Washington, D.C., to bring these voices together to build a framework that can put millions of American workers on a more secure retirement savings track. Read more about our efforts at ssga.com/dc/publicpolicy.
State Street Global Advisors One Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111-2900. T: +1 617 664 7727.
The views expressed in this material are the views of Melissa Kahn of SSGA’s Defined Contribution team through the period ended June 30, 2016, and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This document contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance, and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected. The information provided does not constitute investment advice and it should not be relied on as such. It should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell a security. It does not take into account any investor’s particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status or investment horizon.
All material has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. There is no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information, and State Street shall have no liability for decisions based on such information. Investing involves risk, including the risk of loss of principal. The whole or any part of this work may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without SSGA’s express written consent.
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