How Access To Retirement Plans (or Lack Thereof) Is Preventing Americans From Having Adequate Savings

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Access to a workplace retirement plan typically prompts more people to save, but many Americans don’t even get the chance. This problem has to do with the current retirement system, as more employers opt for 401(k) plans and other similar retirement accounts over pensions, putting the responsibility of saving on the workers instead.

“There are too many Americans who don’t have that future stability,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said at an event hosted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, CNBC reported. Walsh added that having a retirement plan is an “essential component” of a good job, but many Americans don’t have any retirement savings or plan at all.

Ed Murphy, president and CEO of Empower, a provider of retirement services, told CNBC that 57 million Americans don’t have access to a workplace retirement savings plan. Without payroll deductions, many workers simply don’t save.

AARP research found that employees at small businesses are less likely to have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan than those at larger companies. But, even among employers with more than 1,000 workers, one-third do not have access to a workplace retirement plan.

Debra Whitman, AARP’s Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer, noted that the average Social Security check is about $1,600 per month, but this isn’t enough to cover living expenses after retirement.

While many states have implemented their own automatic individual retirement accounts, federal lawmakers are hoping to make changes with retirement legislation Secure Act 2.0, which aims to build on the SECURE Act of 2019. Some proposed changes include expanding the saver’s credit, expanding support for small businesses to provide retirement plans through tax credits, adding catch-up contributions for older workers and increasing the age for required minimum distributions.

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This legislation would need to be made a priority before the end of the year with bipartisan support, or lawmakers will need to start over on new legislation in 2023, according to U.S. Bank

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