DSM USA Policy HQ - Retirement
The DSM USA Policy HQ podcast is a monthly conversation between experts on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector.
One year into the DSM USA Policy HQ podcast, conversations between Greater Des Moines (DSM) leaders and experts continue to shine a light on public policy topics affecting the region. In the latest installment of the DSM USA Policy HQ podcast, Lance Schoening, director of policy at Principal Financial Group and Dr. Rayna Stoycheva, director of retirement security policy for The Harkin Institute at Drake University The Harkin Institute, discussed retirement security, including the government’s role in creating innovative legislation to make retirement planning and saving easier.
Government’s Role in Retirement Planning
A recent retirement preparedness survey showed that 49% of Iowans do not feel like they are adequately planning or are financially prepared for retirement. Schoening discussed human behavior and overcoming tendencies to not save for retirement, including the importance of passing laws that help people prepare for their own retirements. Absent a deadline, it’s often difficult for Congress to take action on items like social security funding. The great thing about the private retirement system is that it’s constantly evolving. Principal utilizes innovative technologies to engage individuals and encourage them to take action when it comes to creating their own retirement plan. He outlined why laws should evolve with the market as these innovations take place while being careful not to trigger unintended consequences for small businesses. With any piece of legislation, adjustments should be made to migrate with the markets.
Dr. Stoycheva said that while retirement isn’t a “cool” topic, her journey to retirement planning began after growing up during a turbulent time in Eastern Europe. This created an interest in the social safety net for her, and she focused on government programs like social security, health insurance and more, eventually doing a dissertation on public employer pensions. Dr. Stoycheva discussed how the federal and state governments are trying to address retirement preparedness. She said the government’s role in retirement security, through programs like social security, is not only to provide for security through a source of income but to ensure against disability and early death (survivor benefits).
The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021, or SECURE 2.0, is bipartisan legislation and recently passed the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee unanimously. The bill seeks to:
1. Encourage plan formation around small businesses
2. Drive greater plan participation and contribution levels for workers
3. Support workers that are nearing and entering retirement in securing guaranteed lifetime income
Schoneing cited several innovative approaches that help employees make retirement contributions, including a provision where employees paying down student loan debt get matched contributions for retirement when showing proof of student loan payments. Another approach revolves around employers establishing automatic enrollment for employees.
Other topics discussed included the impact of the pandemic and coverage issues for the side gig generation.
Listen to the entire podcast here:
The DSM USA Policy Headquarters podcast focuses on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector. Join us each month to hear from local Greater Des Moines (DSM) experts. To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here.