Americans face many challenges and obstacles in saving for retirement. In the past, many Americans relied on employer based pension plans for retirement savings. Today, most Americans rely on other types of retirement savings plans such as 401(k)s or Individual Retirement Accounts, which make individuals responsible for ensuring their own financial security and retirement options. IRI’s 2017 Blueprint for Retirement Security includes common sense, bipartisan policies to help Americans achieve their retirement goals. 

“Do No Harm” to Current Retirement Policy

Congress should protect affordable access to professional financial guidance by enacting legislation to replace the Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule and establish a consistent best interest standard of care that preserves access to retirement advice and offers a wide array of lifetime income products for Americans.

Congress should maintain the current tax-deferred treatment for retirement savings to help workers prepare for a secure retirement.

Congress and the Administration should protect the current structure and diversity of workplace retirement plans by maintaining the different types and structures of retirement plans that were created for the needs of different types of workers. 

Increase Workers' Access to Lifetime Income in Retirement Plans

Congress or the Department of Labor should clarify employer fiduciary responsibility in the annuity selection safe-harbor to allow employers to select lifetime income products provided by insurers that meet certain existing regulatory requirements, such as minimum capital and reserving standards.

Congress should enact legislation to enable annuity portability by treating a record-keeping change as a distributable event to ensure workers are not harmed if their employer decides to make such changes.

Congress should enact legislation to remove regulatory and legal barriers to facilitate small businesses use of multiple employer plans and these plans should be required to make a lifetime income option available to their employees.

Help Americans to Better Prepare for a Secure Retirement 

Congress should enact legislation to require lifetime income estimates on workers’ benefit statements to help workers to save appropriately for retirement by making them aware of how much monthly income their savings will generate in retirement.

Congress should enact legislation to encourage employers to offer retirement plans for workers where workers would be automatically enrolled in Individual Retirement Accounts, Auto IRAs, or other retirement plans, if workers do not have access to other types of employer-provided qualified retirement plans.

Congress should enact legislation to increase auto-enrollment and auto-escalation default rates starting the savings rate at 6 percent with automatic escalation up to 15 percent.

Congress should work expeditiously to enact legislation which would enable financial advisors to protect their clients from financial abuse and protect millions of older Americans who suffer financial exploitation each year.

Congress should enact legislation to permit electronic disclosure for retirement plans with an opt-out option for providing required disclosures to plan participants.

Congress should enact legislation to update required minimum distribution (RMD) rules to reflect longer lifespans by increasing the RMD age from 70 1/2 to at least 75 and mortality tables should be updated to reflect longer life expectancies.

Congress should enact legislation amending the IRS Code to reduce the age requirement for in-service rollovers to purchase lifetime income products to allow plan participants aged 50 and older to initiate rollovers for the purchase of deferred income annuities to help facilitate greater access to lifetime income products for participants at an earlier age.

Regulatory Initiatives to Promote Consumer Choice, Education and Reduce Regulatory Burdens for Lifetime Income Options

The Department of Labor should revoke ERISA safe harbor and guidance for state savings arrangements, and instead expressly authorize states to rely on existing safe harbors for private sector plans, and allow all plans that qualify to include automatic enrollment and escalation features to preserve employer choice, competition and protections on retirement plan coverage options.

The Securities Exchange Commission should move forward expeditiously to adopt a variable annuity summary prospectus and annual update  to improve consumers' understanding of their investment choices and reduce regulatory burdens through streamlined disclosures that facilitate better decision making regarding lifetime income options.

The President should implement the national insurance licensing clearinghouse by appointing a National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers board and establish a one-stop federal licensing clearinghouse for financial professionals holding state insurance licenses in multiple states.

Please click here to access IRI's 2017 Retirement Security Blueprint.