Family Finances

Rapid Change, Real Momentum: Assessing America’s Progress Toward Inclusive Retirement Savings

May 22, 2023  • Financial Security Program

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In October 2022, policymakers, financial services executives, academics, advocacy leaders, and financial technology innovators gathered for the sixth annual Aspen Leadership Forum on Retirement Savings. An in-person event for the first time since early 2020, this Forum set out to advance solutions to ensure that everyone in America can benefit from our retirement savings system. 

At the halfway point for this 10-year annual convening, participants reflected on the progress made in five core aspects of retirement savings and security—access to workplace savings plans, emergency savings tools, plan portability, lifetime income solutions, and equitable outcomes in defined contribution plans—then addressed potential next steps in each of those areas. Key themes surfaced across these discussions, including the virtue of simplicity, the importance of acknowledging the emotions that govern financial decisions, and the need to set realistic expectations for measuring progress. 

Beyond diving into the five key pillars of retirement savings, participants challenged each other on issues deeply connected already – or what could be in the future – to retirement savings. This includes grappling with the questions of if our retirement systems are too employer-centric, if we should start our savings journey with emergency savings, the role housing plays in retirement, if our inclusive savings system started at birth, and the role that blockchain might play across our retirement savings system. 

Shortly after this convening, SECURE 2.0 was passed, reflecting more momentum to help household building short- and long-term savings. And, more work is needed across policy and market solutions to achieve a more inclusive retirement savings system for all.