Blog Archive

Blog Archive

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.

For more recent blog posts, please click here to visit our main blog page.


Jason Shapiro

How to Evolve Default Options for Retirees in DC Plans

By Jason Shapiro

Here are several forward-looking ideas for defaults within the industry’s reach that can facilitate better outcomes by creating a path for current and future innovations. Target-date funds, which have become a popular default investment in defined contribution (DC) retirement plans, are a great tool to help American workers prepare for retirement, but we feel they are not necessarily designed to serve the needs of today’s retirees who are living longer than those in the past.

Catherine Harvey

Emergency Savings: What’s at Stake for the Retirement Industry?

By Catherine Harvey

In the field of retirement and financial wellness, most people can recite the Federal Reserve’s statistic that 40% of U.S. households would struggle to cover a $400 unexpected expense. The AARP Public Policy Institute went beyond “the $400 problem” in our recent report, Unlocking the Potential of Emergency Savings Accounts, and presented a more-nuanced portrait of the population that lives one surprise away from financial distress.

Robert Raben

Why Diversity in Investment Management Matters

By Robert Raben

When I started the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative (DAMI) five years ago, it was in direct response to the insufficient use of minority- and women-owned asset management firms by institutional investors. Without an abundance of data to understand why these firms were not participating fully in the management of the largest pools of capital, we were constantly asking ourselves, “Is there just a lack of MWBOs in the field?” “Did it come down to an issue of performance?” “If so, did these firms not have the talent and resources needed to perform as well as or outperform their white counterparts?”

Work or Retire choice

The Reality Behind the Idea of Working Longer

By Laura Kim and Angela Antonelli

While the idea of retiring by age 65 becomes increasingly outdated, how realistic is the expectation that Americans can simply choose to work longer? Older workers face a difficult set of circumstances, with those wishing to remain employed finding it increasingly difficult to land and keep jobs, while many who might prefer to retire must keep working to make ends meet.

No, Really — This Time is Different in Retirement Income

By Josh Cohen

“This time is different.” We’ve heard it before. We heard it when technology stocks were skyrocketing in the late ’90s, and then just before the real estate bubble burst a decade ago. The discussion of retirement income in defined contribution (DC) plans has that same feel now.

The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Older Americans

By Patrick McNamara, Angela M. Antonelli and Laura Kim

After decreasing with the onset of the Great Recession, debt levels are once again rising. At the end of 2018, overall household debt reached an all-time high. A closer examination highlights two significant and troubling trends: student loans represent an increasingly large portion of aggregate debt, and older Americans bear a growing proportion of this burden.

How Much Is Enough? The Challenge of Helping Workers Determine Their Retirement Income Needs

By Ivy Deng, Laura Kim, and Angela Antonelli

How much is enough? That’s the difficult question policymakers and individuals have to answer when it comes to retirement security and determining retirement income adequacy. With today’s defined contribution (DC) plans, all the responsibility has shifted to the worker to make the right savings and investment decisions — decisions that will significantly affect the amount of money available for retirement.

From Savings to Security: The Future of Innovation in DC Plan Design

By Angela M. Antonelli

The Georgetown University Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) convened an invitation-only one-day policy forum in June 2018 with approximately 100 senior industry leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders to examine some of the key challenges in designing a retirement savings system focused on improving long-term outcomes to strengthen retirement security for millions of Americans.

Achieving Economies of Scale in State-Facilitated Retirement Savings Programs: The Case for Multi-State Collaboration

By Angela M. Antonelli, J. Mark Iwry and David C. John

Over the last several years, most states have been actively engaged in exploring ways to enable more private-sector workers to save for retirement. In addition to understanding the need to enhance retirement security by expanding coverage, they recognize that the failure to do this would expose state governments to increased budget pressure, because increasing numbers of retirees with insufficient savings need additional social services.


The Next Generation of NEST Program Reforms in the UK: Anticipating Some Challenges Will Strengthen the Foundation for Continued Success

By Will Sandbrook

Two years ago, I wrote a blog post for this site with Keith Ambachtsheer, from the International Centre for Pension Management, giving an update on plans to extend private sector pension coverage in the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada.

“Work Hard. Save Easy.” The OregonSaves Retirement Program is Off to a Promising Start

By Tobias Read, Oregon State Treasurer

America’s retirement savings crisis is massive, is growing, and will affect everyone. The gap between what’s saved and what’s needed is estimated to be at least $6.8 trillion nationally, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security.

What Does an Aging Population Mean for Economic Growth and Investing?

By Paula Campbell Roberts

When the post-World War II babies entered the workforce in the 1970s, about 10 percent of the US population was over age 65. By 2030, that number is expected to grow to 20 percent of the population.

The Stress Behind the Dykes: Debating the Next Generation of Retirement Policy Reforms in the Netherlands

By Harry H.G. Smorenberg

As one of the top-ranked retirement systems in the world, the Netherlands’ retirement system is often seen as a model due to its strength in “adequacy, integrity and sustainability.”

The Unique and Varied Challenges Women Face Planning and Preparing for Retirement

By Laura Kim and Angela M. Antonelli

Planning for retirement is not a one-size-fits-all model. While savings, health, cost of living, and lifestyle expectations are major factors, research shows that gender can play a large role in retirement planning and that women may have additional challenges that should to be considered.

A Call to Action in Pennsylvania: The Demographic, Fiscal, and Economic Consequences of Retirement Insecurity Are Hard to Ignore

By Joe Torsella, Pennsylvania State Treasurer

The weakening of the pillars supporting retirement security (Social Security, employer-provided pension plans, and supplemental retirement and other savings plans) is one of the greatest fiscal and economic challenges we face today.

The Aging of America: A Changing Picture of Work and Retirement

By Angela M. Antonelli

Who hasn’t seen the happy birthday wishes sponsored by Smuckers to celebrate Americans around the country turning 100 years old? It used to be a rarity and cause for celebration when a relative hit a centennial birthday. However, new data suggest that this will become the norm in the not-too-distant future.

Closing the Global Retirement Savings Gap: A Tale of Two Numbers

By Han Yik

Retirement systems play a critical role in society and affect virtually every major stakeholder group, but the challenges facing them are large and continue to grow.


A Key to Strengthening Retirement Security: Return to Designing Retirement Plans Focused on Lifetime Income Strategies

By Martin Noven and Angela M. Antonelli

As employers have shifted from traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans to defined contribution (DC) plans, many unintentionally abandoned the goal of retirement security.

The Changing Nature of Work: More Can Be Done to Help Contingent Workers Save for Retirement

By Angela M. Antonelli, Christopher Woika and Laura Kim

The nature of how we work today is rapidly changing. A growing segment of today’s workforce no longer enjoys what many consider to be a traditional work arrangement in which a worker is a full-time employee with salary and benefits, such as health care and retirement savings, as well as other workplace protections.

Launching OregonSaves: Early Lessons from an Innovative Public-Private Partnership

By Lisa A. Massena, CFA

With a great deal of local and national engagement and support, Oregon will soon be launching the nation’s first state-sponsored auto-enrollment individual retirement account (IRA) program.

Small Businesses & Retirement Readiness: Vermont Embraces a Multiple Employer Plan Approach

By The Honorable Beth Pearce

On June 8, 2017, Vermont became the first state in the nation to establish a state-facilitated multiple employer plan (MEP) with the signing of S. 135, establishing the Green Mountain Secure Retirement Plan.

It’s Never Too Early to Save for Retirement: Strengthening Retirement Security Begins by Reaching Millennials

By Laura Kim and Angela M. Antonelli

Four out of five millennials are worried that Social Security will not be there for them when they are ready to retire, and half believe that Social Security will provide them with no benefits in retirement.

Congress Should Encourage State Innovation to Strengthen Retirement Security

By Charles E.F. Millard and Angela M. Antonelli

The new Republican Congress and Administration want to limit federal power and devolve more programs to the states. As longtime Republicans, we believe state experimentation leads us as a nation to better outcomes.

Expanding Small Business Access to Retirement Plans

By David Damschen and Richard Mourdock

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.


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

By 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.

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

By 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.

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

By Angela M. Antonelli and Yijun Yin

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.

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

By 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.

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

By David Morse – Partner Access Only

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a proposed rule to create a safe harbor allowing states to establish mandatory workplace-based IRA savings programs which are exempt from ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).

States Bridging the Partisan Divide on Retirement Security

By Angela M. Antonelli and David C. John

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.

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

By Angela M. Antonelli – Partner Access Only

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.

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

By Keith Ambachtsheer and Will Sandbrook

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.

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

By 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.

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

By James R. Racheff, MS, MBA

More than 40 percent of employers – most of them small businesses – do not sponsor a workplace retirement savings plan for their employees. In Maryland, we have 1,000,000 employees who lack access to employer provider retirement plans.