WASHINGTON – Today at a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) discussed ways to help military spouses and women more easily access retirement plans.
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
Retirement Savings for Military Spouses
Senator Hassan began her questioning by highlighting the challenges that military spouses face in saving for retirement.
“[Military spouses] often face a wide gap in terms of retirement because they move locations more frequently, so they don’t always stay long enough in one job to become eligible for employer-sponsored retirement plans,” said Senator Hassan.
Senator Hassan went on to speak about a bipartisan bill she introduced earlier this year with Senator Collins to help address this issue by incentivizing employers to make military spouses immediately eligible for retirement plan participation, including employer contributions.
Retirement Savings for Women
Senator Hassan also spoke about the retirement savings gap for women.
“Women often struggle to save enough for retirement. They lag behind men due to a number of factors, including lower earnings and more time away from the workplace because they are primarily caregivers in a lot of circumstances,” said Senator Hassan. “The pandemic exacerbated many of these issues, with nearly 1.8 million women leaving the workforce.”
During the hearing, the witnesses shared various policies that would help address the retirement savings gap. Tobias Read, the State Treasurer of Oregon, shared that auto-enrollment is a key way to address the savings gap. David Certner, Legislative Counsel and Director of Legislative Policy for Government Affairs at AARP, listed improving coverage for part time workers, improving access in general to payroll deduction plans, and improving on savings credit on the federal level as ways to help close the retirement savings gap. Brian Graff, Chief Executive Officer of the American Retirement Association, stated that overlaying proposals helps boost savings rates among single women.
Senator Hassan has long worked to reform and strengthen Americans’ retirement security. Earlier this year, Senator Hassan cosponsored the bipartisan Retirement Security & Savings Act which included many Hassan-led measures. The bill also built on Senator Hassan’s efforts to help address the retirement savings gap in the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act that was included in the 2019 government funding bill. The SECURE Act that passed into law included bipartisan provisions introduced by Senator Hassan to help small businesses offer retirement programs to their employees.