America has a retirement savings crisis.
Nearly half of working-age households can't continue their current standard of living in retirement, according to data from the U.S. Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances. People are living longer, and traditional pension plans are vanishing, hurting the chances for people to save enough to live comfortably in retirement.
What's more, employer-sponsored 401(k) plans are falling short in helping people save for retirement. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, more than a third of private-sector workers don't have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Of those, only about half take advantage of it. And many of those who do take advantage of a 401(k) plan fall victim to high fees, confusing fund lineups and lack of clarity around what the impact of their investment decisions will be in the long run.
The powers that be in Washington must take action to prevent the retirement crisis from getting even worse.
Sadly, sweeping retirement regulation changes may not be realistic. We saw this recently with the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. That rule required retirement-plan advisors to act in investors' best interests, and it was struck down by the courts. Many in the retirement industry fight for policy changes like the fiduciary rule, but when revenue is at stake for companies that don't benefit from regulatory changes, their lobbying and political support arms win.