We’ve been aware of the overall retirement struggles in the U.S. for some time now, but there are finally legislators out there who are taking a stand and calling for the reform of a system that seems to have crumbled. It’s no secret that employers have been doing away with pension plans for their employees, leaving American consumers to fend mostly for themselves in terms of saving for retirement.
Yes, there is still Social Security and true, a good deal of employers still offer 401(k)’s. But as Senator Harkin of Iowa points out, one of the legs of the “three legged stool” which allows consumers to sit on in retirement has basically been kicked out. He is referring to the pension plans, and his legislation—outlined in a New York Times article by Nancy Folbre—calls for a reinstatement of pension plans, but in such a way that won’t stress individual employers and put all of the risk on their shoulders.
If you haven’t heard the latest data, we highly recommend Folbre’s article. It doesn’t just give information about Harkin’s reform; it reveals all sorts of data and numbers from recent surveys proving that Americans are fairly ill equipped for retirement. For instance, she reported “among those 55 to 64 years old, two-thirds of working households with at least one earner have retirement savings less than one year’s income, far below what they will need to maintain their standard of living in retirement.” A scary fact indeed! We are vying for retirement reforms and hope that you will at least inform yourself of the issues at stake, and for crying out loud… start an IRA. Just in case.