What Do Recent Federal Studies Tell Us About the Financial
Well-Being of U.S. Households and the Impact of COVID?
August 18, 2021
August 18, 2021
The latest federal data and analysis suggest that many households were struggling financially well before COVID-19. A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that older workers carried three times as much debt in 2016 as they did in 1989. GAO also has reported that the challenges women face during their working years can affect their lifetime earnings and retirement income. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reports that only half of workers could meet expenses for two months if they lost their primary income. For some households, the COVID pandemic has amplified financial challenges. Surveying more than 11,000 adults, the U.S. Federal Reserve reports nearly one-fourth of adults were worse off financially compared to 12 months earlier, and the gap in financial well-being between White adults and Black and Hispanic adults also grew during this time.
During this one-hour webinar, hear from federal experts who will share key findings from their recent research to give us a picture of the current financial health and resiliency of U.S. households and the potential impact on retirement security.
May 13, 2021
Private sector workers in the United States continue to struggle to find a cost-effective way of securing a reliable income in retirement. As defined benefit (DB) plans have become less common, many workers now face a costly and complex set of decisions about how to turn the savings in their defined contribution (DC), 401(k) plans into lifetime income.
The US is not alone in facing this challenge. In both the Netherlands, and most recently now in the United Kingdom (UK), collective defined contribution (CDC) plans are being used to provide lifetime income. Recent studies of CDC plan experience in Europe suggest that a CDC plan can be simple and low-cost in design, and generate a retirement income at least 30% higher than a typical DC plan.
How is this possible? What has been the experience, good and bad, in the Netherlands and the UK? What lessons do a CDC plan design hold for the US?
Please join the Georgetown Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) for a one-hour webinar with a panel of global experts, practitioners, and labor representatives to discuss the potential of CDC plan design and the CRI’s related policy report, “Securing a Reliable Income in Retirement: An Examination of the Benefits and Challenges of Pooled Funding and Risk-Sharing in Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) Plans.”
December 15, 2020
The Georgetown Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) hosted a one-hour webinar to share the findings of its new research, “What Are the Potential Benefits of Universal Access to Retirement Savings? An Analysis of National Options to Expand Coverage” prepared in collaboration with Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) and supported by a grant from the Berggruen Institute’s Future of Capitalism program.
Today, an estimated 57 million private sector workers lack access to employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. This research evaluates several options for providing national universal retirement savings access if some or all employers are required to offer either a payroll deduction IRA or 401(k) plan to their workers.
The ability to close the access gap and boost savings will be affected by design features. The type of retirement savings accounts (Roth IRA and/or Roth 401(k) structure), the employers required to participate, and the default levels of employee contributions and any employer contributions over time are all factors that will drive access, savings, asset growth, and retirement income.
During this webinar, the presenters and discussants examined the range of options considered, which offers policymakers a roadmap to create solutions that work for most employers and their employees. Analyses of several payroll deduction IRA and 401(k) scenarios show that the benefits to savers, retirees, and the nation’s fiscal and economic well-being can be significant.
Discussants (moderated by Angela Antonelli):
June 24, 2020
Increasingly, workers expect their retirement plans to help them not only save, but also generate and manage income through retirement. It is no longer sufficient to ask simply, “How much is enough?” when planning for retirement. Instead, the same — or greater — effort must be put into helping workers understand how their savings translate into monthly income and whether this will meet retirement goals and objectives. During this one-hour webinar, we will explore the range of lifetime income solutions, what it is like for plan sponsors to include such solutions, whether the recent SECURE Act has the potential to encourage greater adoption by plan sponsors, and how other countries are addressing the retirement income challenge. View replay or download slides.
June 9, 2020
On June 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an information letter intended to provide clarity about how ERISA fiduciary duties apply to including alternative investments as they do to more-typical investments in defined contribution (DC) plans. The guidance is an effort to make it clear that ERISA does not prohibit alternative investment in DC plans, and therefore a fiduciary could, if it follows a prudent process, decide to allocate a portion of a target date fund (TDF) portfolio to alternative investments. The Georgetown Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) released reports analyzing the strategic use of alternative assets in a TDF structure and how to address various operational challenges, demonstrating that including these asset classes can improve expected retirement income and mitigate loss in downside scenarios. However, many plan fiduciaries have been reluctant to include alternative assets allocations in their TDFs because of a perception that doing so could increase the risk of litigation. The DOL’s guidance is an effort to respond to this concern. During this one-hour webinar, experts and the leaders of several key industry associations will discuss the DOL’s new guidance to provide some much-needed clarity about the use of alternative assets in DC plans. What do we know about the potential for asset diversification to improve returns, smooth volatility, and mitigate downside risks during periods of market stress, such as the recent coronavirus-induced economic volatility? Does the latest guidance help address the key legal and operational challenges that have slowed adoption? Will the DOL’s action increase the likelihood that plan sponsors can take more of an institutional approach to DC investing? View replay or download slides.
May 28, 2020
Even before the current pandemic, millions of workers already did not have access to employer-sponsored retirement savings plans, and now, fewer businesses may provide such plans. The pandemic is also having a negative effect on the level of participation and employer contributions to existing retirement plans. During this one-hour webinar, we will discuss the damage to retirement savings and how the private sector and governments can work together as we emerge from this crisis to provide new options that will cover more Americans and boost retirement savings. View replay or download slides.
May 14, 2020
While the primary focus now must be on overcoming the COVID-19 public health pandemic, there will be important lessons from this crisis that we must act upon. The financial fragility of too many Americans unable to weather even a short period of economic turmoil is painfully obvious. During this one-hour webinar, we will examine the severity of the problem and the need to take advantage of opportunities to help individuals, families, and workers prepare for the future more successfully with tools to improve financial well-being, including expanding access to ways to save for emergencies, retirement, and much more. View replay or download slides.