Aspen Institute To Hold Briefing on the Future of America’s Retirement Savings Policy

April 19, 2012

Contact: Colby Farber

Capitol Hill Briefing To Take Place Thursday Morning

Washington, DC, April 19, 2012–– The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) will host a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill this afternoon on Regaining Momentum: America’s Retirement Savings Policy. In conjunction with National Retirement Planning Week ®, the briefing will bring together the architects of last major retirement savings policies, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH), to reflect on successes and unfinished agendas in past policies and offer broad thoughts about future retirement savings policy. The briefing will take place Thursday, April 19 from 12:00 – 1:30 PM in Room SVC 215 in the Capitol Visitor’s Center.

Following the senators’ remarks, featured experts will offer their thoughts on what future retirement savings policies should address. Speakers include

  • William Chetney, Executive Vice President, Retirement Partners, LPL Financial
  • Jeff Cruz, Executive Director, Latinos for a Secure Retirement Coalition
  • Karen Elinski, General Counsel, Government Relations, TIAA-CREF
  • Cristina Martin Firvida, Director, Economic Security, AARP
  • Janice Gregory, President, National Academy of Social Insurance
  • Christine Marcks, President, Prudential Retirement
  • Lisa Mensah, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security

"The federal government has a role to foster an environment that encourages more Americans to save for retirement," says U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. "We started to accomplish this with the passage of the Portman-Cardin legislation while Senator Portman and I were members of the House, but there is still more to be done. We need robust policies that will incentivize private savings while we also sustain a strong Social Security system."

"As policymakers grapple with budgets and future tax policies, we have maybe a once in a decade opportunity to bring all Americans into the nation’s savings system with accounts, and fair and robust incentives to save," says Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security’s Lisa Mensah.

"When it comes to retirement policy in the United States, the goal must be to protect incentives and reduce barriers so that all Americans can attain a secure retirement," said IRI president and CEO Cathy Weatherford. "Americans, who are facing unprecedented retirement income challenges and are still recovering from the recent recession, are increasingly looking for every incentive available to maximize their savings to enhance their financial security in retirement."

TIAA-CREF’s Karen Elinski says "[a new retirement savings] system, among other things, should help workers ‘manage longevity’ by ensuring they are saving enough, have access to appropriate income choices and are receiving adequate education."

"This tight budget environment demands that we get the most out of our retirement security policies," says Jeff Cruz, executive director of the Latinos for a Secure Retirement coalition. "We know that a system consisting of Social Security, default pension investment, and matching contribution incentives is proven to work, but it must be strengthened for low-income workers. Both they, and our government, benefit when we can get the most bang for our buck."

"Bi-partisan retirement legislation in 2001 and 2006 transformed the way people save and invest through employer-sponsored plans, but it’s time to complete the picture. We must address the serious gaps we still have in retirement savings coverage and adequacy, and in incorporating solutions into defined contribution plans that deliver retirement income that can’t be outlived," says Christine Marcks, president, Prudential Retirement.

"AARP is committed to helping older Americans have the resources they need to retire with dignity. Individuals are increasingly responsible for securing their own retirement, and the task has never been more challenging. We need to make it easier for all Americans to save for their retirement, but above all, we need to ensure that Social Security continues to provide the bedrock of retirement income now and in the future," says AARP’s Cristina Martin Firvida.

"Holistic financial education partnered with participant advice is the crucial next evolution for Defined Contribution plans," says LPL’s Bill Chetney. The current model of narrow investment menu education and a ‘one size fits all’ target date fund is woefully inadequate to create Retirement Readiness."

The National Academy of Social Insurance’s Janice Gregory will underline Social Security’s role as the bedrock of retirement security for Americans.

For additional information about the Regaining Momentum event and the work of the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security, please contact Colby Farber at 202.736.2533 or at

About Aspen IFS:
The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) is a leading policy program dedicated to helping bring about the policies and financial products that enable all Americans to save, invest, and own. For more information about Aspen IFS and its work, please visit


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