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Portable Non-Employer Retirement Benefits: An Approach to Expanding Coverage for a 21st Century Workforce

February 5, 2019  • Financial Security Program & Common Wealth

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Key Points

  • Portable non-employer retirement benefits represent an opportunity to strengthen America’s retirement system and address the retirement insecurity that many Americans experience.

This paper is the product of a collaboration between the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (FSP) and Common Wealth. Together, our two organizations aim to connect and bring a fresh, solutions-oriented perspective to two critical conversations in America: one about the future of work, the other about the future of retirement security.



America’s retirement system is seriously underperforming. Over 55 million Americans lack access to a workplace retirement plan, 3/4 are worried about their ability to maintain their standard of living in retirement, and poverty among American seniors is nearly twice that of other OECD countries.  Nearly six in 10 Americans do not own a retirement account. The changing nature of work is likely to intensify these challenges. Innovative strategies involving the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors are therefore required to build an occupational safety net for the 21st century that includes broadbased retirement security.

This paper proposes an approach for expanding retirement plan coverage called portable nonemployer retirement benefits — retirement arrangements that are workplace-based, but not tied to any single job or employer.


NEW REPORT | Portable Non-Employer Retirement Benefits: An Approach to Expanding Coverage for a 21st Century Workforce #PortableRetirement Learn more today

Can we build a #retirement system that is workplace-based, yet also portable, inclusive, accessible, & high-quality? @CWretirement & @AspenFSP says yes, but it will take fresh thinking, new types of plan sponsors, & bold leadership #PortableRetirement 


Freedom from the 9-5 shouldn’t mean exclusion from retirement benefits. As more workers go independent, should retirement benefits follow? @AspenFSP and @CWretirement offer a compelling vision for a 21st century retirement system. #PortableRetirement 

40 years into the 401k, is it time to consider new sponsors for retirement savings outside the employer? @AspenFSP and @CWretirement offer a compelling vision for a brave new world of non-employer retirement benefits. #PortableRetirement



Increasing #RetirementSecurity is one of the most powerful tools we have to address America’s growing wealth gap. Learn more about those who are uncovered and underserved. #PortableRetirement 




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