- Published: Thursday, April 14, 2016 03:16 PM
I am pleased to be featured in a new documentary about the retirement savings crisis that is unfolding in the United States, and I encourage you to check it out.
The film, "When I'm 65: Rethinking Retirement in America," was produced by Detroit Public TV.
Retirement savings in America are not keeping pace with longer life spans at a time when prosperity is harder to come by and people increasingly find themselves moving from job to job during their working years. About 75 million Americans don't have access to employee-sponsored retirement savings plans. And for many, saving for retirement is just out of reach.
"It's not like you can just show up at 65 and sort of figure, 'Oh, what am I going to do about this the next 30 years?" said Cindy Hounsell, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, who also is featured in the film. "You need to be figuring it out all along."
Pensions with defined benefits are being replaced by do-it-yourself savings plans with defined contributions, which can be difficult and intimidating for people who must determine how much of a nest egg they'll need for retirement and how to achieve it. According to a statistic cited in the documentary, 21 percent of people believe winning the lottery is the best chance they'll have at saving enough money to retire.
As I note in the film, these are big questions that deserve serious attention. Americans are dramatically underprepared for retirement, and it's a developing crisis.
In early 2015, I sponsored the Secure Choice legislation that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law, making Illinois the first state to enact an automatic retirement savings law. Secure Choice will enroll small business employees by default into IRAs through payroll deductions, giving them access to affordable retirement savings accounts. It allows people to start saving now for the future and offers them the opportunity to live with dignity in their golden years without the help of taxpayer-funded health care, housing and more. Thirty more states are developing their own version of this legislation. Read more about it in this New York Times article from 2015.