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Welcome to the Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) Policy Blog. The objective of this blog is to create an expert policy forum where the Center can share everything from the latest research and resources related to state retirement savings initiatives for private sector workers to federal legislative and regulatory developments. We will also provide updates on the latest retirement security data, best practices and lessons learned from program design and implementation at home and abroad. For those interested in learning more about a particular topic, each post may provide additional reading and resources to allow for a more in-depth exploration of the related research and policy issues.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the views of the authors and do not reflect any policy or position of the Center for Retirement Initiatives.

Expanding Small Business Access to Retirement Plans

By David Damschen and Richard Mourdock

DavidDamschen

David Damschen

Minutes after taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, President Trump declared that the era of “transferring power from Washington, D.C.” back to the states and to the American people had officially begun. The president’s speech made clear that Republican control of the White House and Congress meant that states — the great laboratories of democracy — would finally have greater leeway to solve problems the Washington bureaucracy has failed to solve for generations.  Read more.                                                                                                

Building a Publicly-Sponsored Private Sector Retirement System: Lessons from Australia

By Zachary May

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ZacharyMay

Zachary May

Australia is generally considered to have a strong retirement system. For example, the Melbourne-Mercer Global Pension Index, which assesses the retirement systems of different jurisdictions in terms of adequacy, sustainability and integrity, has consistently found the Australian system to be among the better ones. The system as we know it today started approximately 20 to 30 years ago. It has developed gradually since that time, and has decades to go before it is mature.   Read more.                                                                                                

Delivering on Publicly-Sponsored Private Retirement Accounts: Key Considerations for Successful Public-Private Partnerships

By Richard Mourdock

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RichardMourdock

Richard Mourdock

In 2016, thirty state legislatures have taken action to consider establishing publicly-sponsored private retirement accounts (PSPRAs) allowing more workers the opportunity to save for retirement. Eight states have already passed legislation to create them, five of them in just the past two years. As more of our leaders cross political lines to sponsor and implement these programs, PSPRAs are increasingly seen as bi-partisan. Read more.                                                                                                

What We Know About Retirement Savings: Why Strategic Behavioral “Nudges” Make Sense

By Angela M. Antonelli and Yijun Yin

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AngelaAntonelli

Angela M. Antonelli

A majority of Americans report a lack of confidence in their ability to prepare adequately for their own retirement. If they can put money away for retirement, they often do not take the time to understand how much they will need to save and, even if they do, are fearful they will never be able to save enough to last a lifetime and will need to keep working longer.  Read more.                                                                                                

States Bridging the Partisan Divide on Retirement Security

By Angela M. Antonelli and David C. John

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AngelaAntonelli

Angela M. Antonelli

Solutions for too many critical problems facing our nation today are tied up in partisan gridlock, but Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan recently demonstrated what bipartisanship is all about. He reached across the aisle and agreed to work with Democrats to tackle one of the most serious financial challenges facing Americans today: retirement security. On May 10, 2016, Governor Hogan signed the Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program bill into law.  Read more.                                                                                                

Beyond ERISA: Other Regulatory Considerations for State-Sponsored Retirement Plans

By David Morse

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David Morse

David Morse

While DOL has taken steps to resolve the uncertainty of ERISA’s applicability to these state-sponsored retirement programs, states, as part of their due diligence, are also examining the other federal regulations, most notably those raised by federal securities laws and the Patriot Act, which should be considered in designing their programs. These laws can be overlooked because they rarely impact the operation of 401(k) and other savings plans; however, the law treats IRAs and 401(k)s differently.   Read more.                                                                                                

Employees’ Financial Wellness: New Strategies for State-Sponsored Retirement Plans

By Annamaria Lusardi

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Annamaria Lusardi

Annamaria Lusardi

In the pursuit of financial security, individuals make many financial decisions throughout their lives, including how much to save for different needs, such as retirement. This is why empowering people to make good decisions has become so important. While setting up a structure that makes it easy for employees to save is essential, so is providing them with the skills and tools needed to make the best decisions to achieve financial security.   Read more.                                                                                                

State Retirement Savings Programs: Current Status, Lessons Learned and Future Prospects

By Angela M. Antonelli

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AngelaAntonelli

Angela M. Antonelli

Americans are facing a retirement crisis. The three-legged stool for retirement – Social Security, employer provided retirement benefits and personal savings – has become unstable as fewer companies offer traditional pension plans for their employees and employees have not saved much on their own for retirement.  Approximately 55 million Americans work for employers which do not offer a retirement savings plan.  Read more.                                                                                                

Building Effective Retirement Savings Programs for Uncovered Workers: Lessons from the UK Experience

By Keith Ambachtsheer and Will Sandbrook

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Keith Ambachtsheer

Keith Ambachtsheer

Imagine workers with access to retirement savings programs that will help provide a secure retirement income at affordable contribution rates. Imagine those contributions managed at low-cost with a long-term, wealth creation focus that will help those workers manage their savings to last their lifetime. If we could achieve that vision, we would provide for a more sustainable retirement system supplementing Social Security for millions of Americans. Read more.

529 College Savings Plans: Lessons for State Sponsored Private Sector Retirement Plans

By Andrea Feirstein

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Andrea Feirstein

Andrea Feirstein

Each day for the next 19 years 10,000 baby boomers will retire. According to the Census Bureau, the population age 65 and over in 2030 is projected to be more than 74 million, representing more than 20 percent of the total population. One of the greatest financial challenges facing our nation today is that more than half of households age 55 and older lack retirement savings in either a defined contribution savings plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), and Social Security provides most of the retirement income for about half of households age 65 and older. Read more.

Maryland: Small Businesses Want to Help Their Workers Save for Retirement

By James R. Racheff, MS, MBA

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Jim Racheff

Jim Racheff

More than 40 percent of employers – most of them small businesses – do not sponsor a workplace retirement savings plan for the employees. In Maryland, we have 1,000,000 employees who lack access to employer provider retirement plans. Many states, including Maryland, have launched initiatives to help private sector workers, especially those employed by small businesses, save for retirement. As a Maryland small business owner, I am supportive of these innovative retirement savings initiatives. Read more.