Family Finances

Expert Survey on Retirement Savings: Support for Solutions for an Inclusive, Adequate Retirement Savings System

April 13, 2021  • Financial Security Program, Karen Biddle Andres, Tim Shaw, Sohrab Kohli & Taylor Gauthier

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In the report Re-Imagining Retirement Amid New Uncertainty 2020, Aspen FSP identified four priority design principles essential to creating a more robust, inclusive, and practical retirement savings ecosystem for people across America:

  1. Provide universal access to automatic enrollment in workplace retirement savings
  2. Help workers build liquid emergency savings alongside their retirement savings
  3. Make retirement savings portable
  4. Innovate to create lifetime income streams for everyone

Between December 2020 and March 2021, Aspen FSP conducted a survey to gauge levels of support – or lack thereof – among leaders across sectors for potential solutions to these priorities and other key challenges discussed over the past five years at the Aspen Leadership Forum on Retirement Savings.
Experts from Aspen Financial Security Program’s Retirement Savings email list and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA) membership list were invited to participate in the survey. We received 182 total responses:

  • 100 experts from Aspen Financial Security Program’s network participated
  • 82 experts from the membership of DCIIA participated
Key findings from our experts (by topic)

Ensuring Retirement Security for Everyone

Top priorities for addressing retirement security:

  • Expanding access to workplace retirement savings programs
  • Expanding access to automatic enrollment into retirement savings programs
  • Ensuring Social Security’s solvency

Access to Retirement Savings Programs

  • 77% of respondents support universal access to retirement accounts

Automatic Enrollment

  • 9 out of 10 experts believe a national retirement plan should feature automatic enrollment

Emergency Savings

  • Most respondents believe it is important for a national retirement plan to include an emergency savings feature

Automatic Portability

  • A majority of respondents support a government mandate for automatic portability

Lifetime Income

  • Nearly 2 out of 3 respondents support allowing some portion of retirement savings to be automatically converted into a guaranteed, regular stream of income in retirement

Racial Equity

  • Most experts surveyed believe the retirement savings system has contributed to the racial wealth gap between white households and BIPOC households in America, and indicate that addressing racial inequality is a major priority for their organization

For more information, download the complete report. If you’d like to connect further about the survey findings, please reach out to Sohrab Kohli: