Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Stronger Nests, Bigger Eggs – New public policy options to promote retirement income security

Without dramatic changes to our country’s private-sector pension and retirement saving system, most workers will not be able to save enough for a comfortable retirement. A significant change is needed to help businesses and workers increase retirement savings.

We all have an interest in having workers approach their retirement years with sufficient savings and investments in place to help secure their independence and self-sufficiency. States should develop programs that build on the systems already in place in state government in order to aid all businesses in starting retirement plans and help workers begin setting aside money for retirement.

Who is – and who isn’t – saving for retirement

There were 158 million workers in the U.S. in 2007. Of those, only 52%, or 81.9 million, worked for an employer or union that sponsored a pension or retirement plan. Overall, just 41.5% of workers – 65.6 million people – were covered by those plans.

The number one reason workers do not have a pension or retirement plan is that their employer does not offer one. Even workers whose employer offers a plan may not participate because they are ineligible or elect not to participate.

Despite the fact that there are numerous routes available for both employers and employees to set up retirement accounts, most small and medium sized business owners and managers have not set up retirement plans for their workers and most individual workers are not regularly contributing to retirement accounts.

The result is that the majority of workers are not regularly saving for retirement. While some workers may have one or more accounts that were set up at one time or another, most accounts are quite small, and workers are not making regular contributions to them.

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