Aspen Institute Publications
Aspen Institute publications are listed below. Many are available for purchase through Google Checkout, a secure system for handling credit card transaction online. For assistance with ordering publications, please contact our Publications office by email or by phone at (410) 820.5433. Please note: Orders are shipped two times a week from our warehouse in Queenstown, MD, on the Eastern Shore.
IFS Policy Director Pamela Perun and C. Eugene Steuerle, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, have coauthored a new report, Why Not a "Super Simple" Saving Plan for the United States?, which analyzes why past efforts in the United States to increase individual retirement savings have fallen short and proposes a new plan to stimulate retirement savings.
Since 2005, the United Kingdom has given every child born on or after September 1, 2002, a Child Trust Fund (CTF) - an investment account for building the savings capacities of children and families as well as for giving all children a financial asset to fund their transition to adult life. The IFS proposal for child accounts in the United States is modeled after this public-private sector partnership. Written in collaboration with the Institute for Public Policy Research in the U.K., this issue brief - an abbreviated version of a forthcoming paper -- looks at the early results of the U.K.'s program and examines some of the lessons that the U.S. can learn as it considers its own initiative.
Employer-sponsored pensions are an important source of retirement income and often make the difference between having a comfortable retirement and just scraping by. This publication, written in collaboration with the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, examines the current state of private pensions in America and finds that total pension coverage has remained stagnant at only about half of all workers -- even though the nature of the coverage is shifting from traditional defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans. At the same time, this shift in coverage means that the amount of income that individuals will receive from pension plans in the future is uncertain.
The National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI) provides a measure of the percentage of households that will be unable to maintain their standard of living in retirement. This issue brief, written in collaboration with the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, looks at the bottom third of the population, examines how their retirement risk has changed over the last 20 years, and forecasts the outlook for this group of Americans. It finds that the percentage of Americans "at risk" will increase and discusses the implication for poverty among the elderly in the future.
Among America's founding principles is the ideal that each citizen's ability to succeed - to achieve financial security, to do better than the generation that came before - should be as limitless as individual potential. In effort to realize this founding principle for all Americans, we at the Initiative on Financial Security have worked to create a comprehensive "cradle-to-grave" savings policy. Savings for Life features a series of four policy recommendations for increasing financial security for all Americans - across income levels, and at every stage of life. It is the culmination of more than two years of a groundbreaking, bipartisan collaboration with CEOs from the financial services sector and public policy experts to identify market-based strategies for more Americans to save, invest and own.
Child Accounts provide a vehicle to start smart savings policy from an early age. By providing a government match for low- and moderate-income Americans, Child Accounts can give every child a jumpstart on financial literacy. Coupled with governmental leadership, members of the private financial sector are instrumental in the implementation of this bold new policy. Creating a generation of future consumers with high financial literacy, savings ability, and financial security is not only imperative for the economic security of this country, but plays a major role in the IFS "cradle-to-grave" approach. Read the latest version of the model state statute.
Increased saving for education, housing and investments among even the poorest Americans helps not only those households, but could bolster the national economy and net national savings as well, along with reducing the country's reliance on overseas investments. This white paper explores barriers to savings and fresh policy approaches to help lower- to middle-income Americans save. Co-authored by Suzanne Nora Johnson, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs and Chairman of the Global Markets Institute at Goldman Sachs (GMI), Lisa Mensah, Executive Director of The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS), and Eugene Steuerle, Senior Fellow at The Urban Institute, it serves as the framework for a six-city roundtable series organized by Aspen IFS and GMI. The series begins on May 15 in San Francisco at a roundtable featuring Mayor Gavin Newsom and other leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Other cities in the series include Jackson on June 7 (featuring Gov. Haley Barbour) and Atlanta on June 19 (featuring Mayor Shirley Franklin).
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), Congressman George Miller (D-CA) and a group of other policymakers, business leaders and experts convened in December at an Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) roundtable to discuss the savings proposals put forward by the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. In particular, the conversation focused on how the current tax code and the Panel's recommendations reward the savings of low- and moderate-income Americans. This publication highlights the Panel's savings recommendations, summarizes the roundtable participants' reflections on the trade-offs between fairness and simplicity, and provides an analysis about making the Saver's Credit more generous.
Today, American savers are confronted with a dazzling array of savings choices-how to save, what savings plans fit their goals, and what types of savings and investment products suit them. Yet despite the proliferation of savings vehicles, the US personal savings rate became negative in 2005. This paper charts the development of savings plans and describes current plans and their usage. It concludes that a new agenda will be required to build the next generation of savings plans. Step one in that process means striving for simplification. Step two means building better plans. Step three means recognizing that what really matters the most for saving in the long run are outcomes. Traditionally, savings plan design has focused almost entirely on the first stage of saving: contributions and their tax incentives. But contributions alone do not make savings plans effective. A more sensible system for saving would set specific savings objectives and design plans capable of achieving them.
"As policymakers on Capitol Hill continue to debate Social Security, pensions and private savings, opportunities for compromise are rare. But there is one policy that stands out..."