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Aspen IFS Leads Roundtable Discussion on Automatic Saving and Investing

December 17, 2009  • Institute Contributor

On December 17, 2009, Aspen IFS held a roundtable discussion with a bipartisan group of government officials, policymakers, and business leaders to explore the Administration’s Automatic IRA proposal and to look ‘under-the-hood’ at potential default investment options for the proposal. 

Led by Lisa Mensah, Executive Director of Aspen IFS, the featured discussants included J. Mark Iwry, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department; John J. Kalamarides, Senior Vice President of Prudential Retirement; David C. John, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Derek Dorn, Tax and Pensions Counsel Adviser to Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM); Cristina Martin Firvida, Director of Government Relations for Economic Security at the American Association of Retired People, and Dr. Lewis Mandell, Senior Fellow at Aspen IFS.

Participants explained how an Automatic IRA and enhanced Saver’s Credit would help the estimated 78 million Americans currently without retirement savings plans, providing them with both a savings vehicle and a robust incentive to build towards a secure retirement.  Discussants unanimously agreed that new proposals should focus particularly on low- to moderate-income employees currently not covered in employer sponsored plans.

Lewis Mandell went on to explain how Aspen IFS’s Real Savings+ (RS+) — an innovative investment option designed for the Automatic IRA — could help maximize the potential of the Automatic IRA proposal.  RS+ combines two widely traded and highly liquid assets — Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) and a broad-based equity market index — to provide savers with a personalized, automatic target date investment option.  Mandell noted how RS+ would “give savers of modest means the safety that is paramount in their minds as well as some upside potential that most middle- and upper middle-income people have.”

To watch the event click here.

Pictured: J. Mark Iwry, U.S. Treasury Department; Lisa Mensah, Aspen IFS; Derek Dorn, Office of Senator Jeff Bingaman