BIDEN ECONOMIC PLAN FINDS SOME ALIGNMENT WITH KEY IRI RETIREMENT POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

Posted on July 10, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for President, rolled out an economic plan for reviving the U.S. economy that included a section on “Guaranteeing a Secure and Dignified Retirement.”

“It is encouraging to see that former Vice President Biden’s economic plan included proposals for guaranteeing a secure and dignified retirement for workers and their families, if he is elected President,” said Wayne Chopus, IRI President and CEO. “Although the plan does not contain specifics, we are heartened to see it included policy recommendations that IRI had proposed in our 2020 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint to make it easier for working people to save and build their retirement nest eggs faster through automatic enrollment in workplace retirement plans and relaxed contribution restrictions for unpaid caregivers.” 

IRI’s 2020 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint provided public policy proposals focused on expanding opportunities to save for retirement by enhancing access to, and features of, workplace retirement plans.

The two measures from the IRI Blueprint included in the Biden plan are the “Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017” (H.R. 4523 – 115th Congress), introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.). The bill would generally require all but the smallest employers to maintain a retirement savings plan into which their employees would be automatically enrolled but with the ability to opt out. The second bill, the “Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Family Caregivers Act” (H.R. 3078), would allow qualified caregivers to make catch-up contributions for a period of time equal to their time spent as a caregiver in years prior to age 50.

“Retirement security has always been an issue that achieves strong bipartisan consensus,” said Paul Richman, IRI Chief Government and Political Affairs Officer. “IRI is looking forward to seeing more details of former Vice President Biden’s as well as President Trump’s plans to strengthen retirement security for workers and retirees during the upcoming election campaign and the development of their respective party platforms. Particularly, we would like to see a greater focus on providing help to those workers and retirees who have had their retirement savings impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. IRI addressed these issues with a five-point plan that offers ways to keep tax-deferred retirement savings longer and enable workers to save more now as our nation’s economy begins its journey on the path to recovery.”

IRI plans to share its 2020 Blueprint with both campaigns and will be advocating for a greater focus on expanding opportunities to save through workplace retirement plans. Those recommendations include helping workers seeking to save for retirement while repaying student loans, allowing members of the armed forces ready reserve to maximize their retirement savings, and permitting workplace retirement plans to be offered to employees of legal cannabis businesses.

IRI also will seek to have the campaigns consider policy proposals to promote the greater availability of guaranteed lifetime income products, which transform at least a portion of retirees’ savings into guaranteed future income.

These products can reduce the risk that retirees will outlive their savings or that their living standards will be eroded by investment losses or inflation. IRI proposals include eliminating barriers that prevent the broader use of qualified longevity annuity contracts (QLACs), facilitating the use of low-cost exchange-traded fund (ETF) investments in variable annuities, reducing the age requirement for in-service rollovers to purchase lifetime income products and expanding the use of lifetime income products as default investment options.

“IRI will be advocating to both President Trump and former Vice President Biden to provide solutions to address the looming retirement security crisis that workers and retirees are facing today and has been exacerbated by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chopus said. “We want to be a resource to both campaigns to provide industry research and specific policy proposals for their consideration as they develop plans to be executed during their term as President, should they be elected in November.”

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Contact: Dan Zielinski