Champions of Retirement Security

A secure retirement is not a guarantee and it’s certainly not something that happens on its own. Gone are the days of employer-sponsored pension plans and an infallible Social Security program. In 2015, saving is now a more complicated process and it takes a financially literate public along with strong leadership in Congress and the financial services industry to make retirement security a reality for all Americans.

This month IRI honored Senators Johnny Isakson and Chris Murphy for their commitment to retirement security issues in Congress. Working across the aisle, the two Senators co-sponsored the Lifetime Income Disclosure Act, a piece of legislation that gives American workers a better understanding of what their retirement will look like and the saving options that are available to them. This is just one step on the long path to success, but it’s leaders like Senators Isakson and Murphy that can make change possible.

At a time when 78 percent of women are contributing to a retirement savings plan, yet more than half of American women are “very concerned” about their ability to retire, it’s important that all segments of our society are provided with the tools they need to secure a safe and dignified retirement. Contributing to a 401(k) is not always enough, but many people don’t know what other options are available to them.

Being a Champion of Retirement means looking at these unique market segments and marginalized groups, such as women and minorities, and giving them a voice, and supporting policies that are advantageous to all American workers. Retirement security is not a partisan issue—regardless of age, gender, or economic class, all Americans need to plan for income in their golden years, and they need help getting there.

In addition to leadership in Congress, advice is still an invaluable tool for consumers. Financial advisors play an instrumental role in the saving process for their clients by breaking down how inputs become income in retirement. The role of an advisor is almost essential as 90 percent of individuals who work with a financial advisor are likely to have retirement assets outside of their workplace plan.

By honoring Champions of Retirement each year, IRI hopes to inspire others in Congress and financial professionals to lead the charge to a secure retirement for all Americans. A dignified retirement for all Americans is possible, but it takes strong leadership from inside and outside the industry to get there.