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Legislators and Experts Sound Off on Closing the American Retirement Savings Gap

May 29, 2013

Ten thousand American baby boomers retire each day. But many won’t have enough retirement income to last throughout their lifetimes. Both the Obama administration and Congress have introduced proposals to connect more workers with retirement plans and incentivize them to put money aside for secure retirements. To address this growing issue, the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security recently hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with remarks from members of Congress and retirement experts. 

“Today, half of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings, and we have a retirement income deficit of $6.6 trillion,” said Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the keynote speakers at the briefing.

While employer-sponsored plans are the most effective tools to encourage American workers to set aside money for retirement, approximately half of Americans have no workplace retirement savings plan options. 

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), who introduced the Automatic IRA Act of 2013 on the day of the briefing, spoke about the benefits of using tax incentives for retirement savings:

For Latinos—a rapidly growing segment of the American population—access to employer-sponsored retirement savings plans is even more of a pressing issue.

“Almost half of all American workers do not have access to any type of retirement plan at work,” said Eric Rodriguez, vice president of research, advocacy, and legislation at NCLR. “But if that sounds alarming, the numbers are even higher for Latinos; almost two-thirds of Hispanic workers in the US do not have any access to a retirement savings plan, while more than half of all Latino seniors rely on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their retirement income.”

Watch Rodriguez describe the status of US-based Latinos and retirement savings:

Watch the full video of the briefing.