Archive for the ‘Retirement Plans’ Category

A New Way to Invest for Old Age, But How Many Will Buy?

A few weeks ago, with absolutely no fanfare, the Treasury Department announced what could be a major change in the way we save for retirement. It will now permit people to shift a portion of their 401(k)s or IRAs into a deferred annuity that provides a guaranteed stream of income once you reach old age. […]

Making Saving Incentives More Equitable

Tax expenditures for retirement saving top $100 billion annually—from 401(k)-type plans ($61.4 billion) to IRAs ($17.6 billion) to tax preferences for pensions ($35.1 billion)—but these subsidies disproportionately benefit higher-income households and do relatively little to improve the balance sheets of low- and moderate-income Americans. According to one study, the bottom 40 percent of households received […]

State of the Union Speech Promotes New Retirement Savings Vehicles

In this year’s State of the Union Address, President Obama announced a new retirement savings account for workers whose employers do not offer any form of pension or savings plan. He also promoted the Automatic IRA, a retirement savings plan that originated at the Retirement Security Project and has been in the Administration’s budget for […]

The Center for American Progress Rethinks Retirement Savings

Kudos to Rowland Davis and David Madland at the Center for American Progress for rethinking retirement savings. In a paper with the rather understated title “American Retirement Savings Could Be Much Better,” the authors attempt to stitch together the best of defined contribution plans and defined benefit pensions. Their preferred vehicle is what’s known as a […]

Automatic Retirement Saving Inches Forward

Automatic enrollment is slowly gaining steam as the choice strategy to encourage retirement saving.  A bold plan in California would eventually make the practice widespread and could revolutionize the state’s saving landscape. Last September, the California legislature approved a framework for automatically enrolling private-sector workers in a retirement savings plan.  Employers with more than five […]

Do Mandates or Tax Subsidies Do a Better Job of Boosting Savings?

Most policymakers and economists agree that Americans don’t save enough. But which government policy does a better job encouraging saving and investment: tax subsidies such as 401(k)s, or mandatory savings systems such as traditional defined benefit pensions or auto-enrollment defined contribution accounts? An important new study finds that if the goal is boosting total savings–as opposed […]

President’s 2013 Budget Would Enable Almost All Americans to Save for Retirement

The new 2013 budget unveiled by President Obama on Monday again contains the Automatic IRA, which was developed by Brookings’ Retirement Security Project in conjunction with The Heritage Foundation. This year’s  version includes an important change that will also encourage more employers to offer a 401(k) account to their workers. However, important changes to the […]

401(k) Plans May Be a Better Deal for Low Wage Workers Than We Thought

Tax-deferred 401(k) plans may be a better deal for low-income workers than economists thought, according to new research by my Tax Policy Center colleague Eric Toder and Urban Institute senior research associate Karen Smith. While high-income workers may get a bigger tax break from their 401(k)s, they also face a short-term trade-off. That’s because their […]

Doing the Roth Roll: The Quiet Explosion in IRA Conversions

Back in 2005, Congress gave many high-income savers a great gift, with the proviso that they couldn’t unwrap the package until this year. The bequest allowed the affluent to convert their traditional tax-deferred Individual Retirement Accounts into tax-free Roth IRAs. Now that these lucky investors have torn open the box, we’re beginning to learn what this opportunity will mean both for them and for federal revenues.

Why Auto-enroll 401(k)s May Reduce Retirement Savings

For the past decade, policymakers and pension experts have encouraged employers to increase worker participation in 401(k) plans by automatically enrolling their employees in these retirement programs. And it works. One study concludes that participation among new hires nearly doubles—from less than half to nearly 90 percent—when workers are auto-enrolled.