May 14, 2019

Senator Hassan Highlights Importance of Making it Easier For Americans to Save for Retirement During Senate Finance Hearing

Senator Hassan, Colleagues Also Recently Introduced Legislation to Help Graduates Save for Retirement While Repaying Students Loans

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan highlighted today the importance of making it easier for Americans to save for retirement. The Senator recently cosponsored a bill – led by the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR) – to allow employees who make student loan payments to receive an employer match into their retirement accounts for those payments.

Before her questioning in a Senate Finance Hearing, Senator Hassan emphasized the importance of Social Security to retirement savings.

“There are three pillars in retirement savings – Social Security, employer-sponsored plans, and personal assets,” Senator Hassan said. “And while it’s not the focus of this hearing it's going to continue to be critical that Congress address the first pillar and work to protect and strengthen the long-term viability of Social Security." 

Senator Hassan then asked the witnesses about how to make it easier for employees who have small retirement accounts at multiple companies to consolidate and more easily manage those accounts.

We've had a lot of discussion about portable retirement benefits,” Senator Hassan said. “I've joined Senators Collins and Casey to request a Government Accountability Office study on this topic because we know as workers move from company to company more frequently than they did in the past – you can see how easy it is for employees to have small retirement balances at several companies, especially if they're not aware of their options.”

Lynn Dudley, Senior Vice President of the Global Retirement & Compensation Policy, American Benefits Council responded, “One of the things that you can do is make it easier for employees who leave their company to roll their money with them, to take them to the next employer and combine it. Many, many employers accept transfers from other plans."

Joan Ruff, Board Chair of the American Association of Retired Persons added, “Underpinning all of this that we haven't spent that much time talking about is education – because if you understand the ramifications for opting out [of a retirement savings plan] you're going to be less likely to opt out.”

Senator Hassan recently joined the Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act, which would help Granite Staters and Americans who cannot afford to both save for retirement and pay off student loans. Under the bill, workers in this situation would continue to make their student loan payments, but they would also receive employer matching contributions into their retirement plan as if those student loan payments were salary reduction contributions made to the retirement plan.

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