National Reform Proposals

National Reform Proposals

Federal Bills

For federal legislation proposing national reform, see Federal Legislative Proposals

Federal Policy Proposals

Below are just a few of the examples of policy proposals developed to expand the availability and accessibility of retirement savings for American workers.  These proposals are presented for informational purposes only and do not reflect any policy, position, or endorsement by the Center for Retirement Initiatives.

Pursuing Universal Retirement Security Through Automatic IRAs

Introduced by David C. John and J. Mark Iwry in 2007, this paper introduces the “automatic IRA.” This approach offers most employees who are not covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan the opportunity to save through regular, automatic payroll deposits. Under this approach:

  • Employers above a certain threshold that have been in business for at least two years and do not sponsor any plan for their employees could allow employees to save their own money through a payroll deduction IRA.
  • Employers would receive a small temporary tax credit based on the number of employees who participate.
  • The arrangement would be market-oriented. IRAs would be provided by the same private financial institutions that currently provide them and could be chosen either by the employer or by the employee. There could be a default IRA option provided through an entity like today’s federal Thrift Savings Program.
  • Savings is automatic unless an employee chooses to opt out.

Securing Our Financial Future: Report of the Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings

Introduced by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings in June 2016, this report addresses six key challenges:

  • Improve access to workplace retirement savings plans by requiring employers with 50 or more employees who do not already offer a plan to offer to their employees nation-wide Retirement Security Plans administered by a third-party or the federal myRA program. Smaller employers would also have access to the nation-wide Retirement Security Plans and an enhanced federal myRA program.
  • Promote personal savings for short-term needs and preserve retirement savings for older age by clearing barriers that discourage employers from automatically enrolling employees into multiple savings accounts separately dedicated to short-term needs and retirement.
  • Reduce the risk of outliving savings by improving lifetime-income products and information offered within retirement savings plans.
  • Facilitate the use of home equity for retirement consumption and ending subsidies for the use of home equity for pre-retirement consumption and strengthen programs.
  • Improve financial capability among all Americans through improved personal financial education through K-12 and higher-education curricula and better communicating the consequences of claiming Social Security early, for example.
  • Strengthen Social Security’s finances and modernize the program by adjusting Social Security’s tax and benefit levels reflect the changing demographics and better target benefits to those who are most vulnerable and more rewarding work to extend working years and claim benefits later

A Comprehensive Plan to Confront the Retirement Savings Crisis

Introduced by economist Teresa Ghilarducci at The New School and Hamilton “Tony” James at Blackstone in March 2016, the plan details a framework where everyone would have a Guaranteed Retirement Account (“GRA”) managed by professional portfolio managers. Under this model:

  • All workers will save enough to retire by building upon the 12.5% of income that workers are already mandated to contribute to Social Security and mandating an additional 3% contribution, to be split between workers and employers. The mandated contribution would be offset by a revenue-neutral federal tax credit.
  • Savings would be invested in lower-risk, longer-term ways that generate a higher rate of return.
  • Participants would be guaranteed lifelong annuitized benefits, no matter how long a retiree lives. An individual’s own annuity will be bought with their own savings, but the actual monthly payments would be made by the Social Security Administration.
  • A combination of employer incentives and employee savings bonuses would make it easier for older Americans to be able to work longer, if they desired, and have more time to save for retirement.

Improving Americans’ Retirement Outcomes Through the National Savings Plan

Authored by David Madland, Alex Rowell, and Rowland Davis at the Center for American Progress in January 2016, this paper proposes the National Savings Plan, which would be modeled after the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Under this model:

  • Employer that do not offer a retirement plan would be required to automatically enroll their employees in the NSP if the employee does not opt out.
  • If an employer offers a retirement plan to only some employees, that employer must offer the NSP to the employees it excludes from the company plan. Employers that fail to offer private-sector retirement plans or the NSP to their employees would be subject to tax penalties.
  • Employee contributions would be defaulted into a low-fee, life cycle fund that automatically adjusts investments based on a worker’s age. Annual contribution limits would be set at the level of 401(k)-style plans