More than 30 leading voices in the U.S. retirement industry released a letter Wednesday urging President Joseph Biden to issue an executive order to create a standing interagency task force on retirement security.
“The proverbial three-legged retirement stool is shakier than ever than ever,” the letter signed by 31 organizations, all partners in the Funding Our Future coalition, said. Signatories include the Aspen Institute, the National Council on Aging, the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Prudential Financial, TIAA and Edelman Financial Engines.
The letter’s release was timed to coincide with a Senate Finance Committee hearing on future legislative reforms on retirement security.
“Social Security and Medicare face financing shortfalls, while pension plans have largely disappeared for younger workers” the letter stated. “At the same time, rising life expectancies, soaring health care and long-term care costs, and rock-bottom interest rates have created new risks to retirement security.”
“A majority of Americans worry about running out of money in retirement, making it the country’s most common financial worry,” the letter said. “Our aspiration is for the task force to look broadly at households’ ability to achieve financial security and save during their working years—including issues such as student loan debt, emergency savings and financial capability—as well as their ability to sustain a lifetime of income and maintain their standard of living in retirement.”
“While COVID-19 and the resulting recession have made it even harder for working Americans to achieve secure retirements, the challenge long predates the pandemic and, without your administration’s leadership, will remain after the current crisis disappears. Retirement security must be part of the build back better.”
There is no one federal agency responsible for retirement security. Responsibilities for individual and employer-based savings plans, Social Security and Medicare are spread across several cabinet-level departments and agencies.
“As organizations that share an interest in and concern for our nation’s retirement readiness, we know that student loan debt, short-term liquid savings, job security, financial literacy and access to retirement plans all affect workers’ long-term financial wellbeing,” the letter continued. “These issues, however, are segmented across different agencies in the executive branch, each focusing on a single piece of the interconnected challenge.”
“That’s why we are calling for the creation of a standing inter-agency task force with leaders from the executive office of the president, Department of Labor, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Social Security Administration, Department of the Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission, White House gender policy council and other relevant parts of the federal government to convene and collaborate on solutions to address a retirement security.”
“We ask for an executive order to establish this body and require a biannual report to the president and the American public summarizing its work and priorities. We also call for the task force to host a biannual summit that invites a diverse group of stakeholder and experts to discuss some of the most pressing issues in retirement policy.”
“Building on the strength of our existing retirement system, the task force can help advance public policy that consider short- and long-term financial challenges the same way workers do — holistically.”
(Questions about Social Security rules? Find the answers in Mary Beth Franklin’s 2021 ebook at MaximizingSocialSecurityBenefits.com.)
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