Testimony of Nari Rhee before the U.S. DOL ERISA Advisory Council Hearing. The US private sector employer-sponsored retirement system leaves out many workers, disproportionately impacting Blacks and Latinos. While some states have forged their own path to try to close this coverage gap, these efforts are limited in scope by ERISA preemption. Federal policy action is necessary so that all workers are covered by a plan that effectively prepares them for a financially secure retirement.
Research & Publications
Testimony of Nari Rhee before the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor on how the US retirement system can be strengthened and made more inclusive, so that all workers – regardless of race, gender, or class – can have economic security in retirement.
As teachers across the country mobilize for education funding and fair pay, pensions are high on their list of priorities. What they know from experience, and research confirms, is that pensions are a win-win for teachers and schools, delivering superior retirement security and retaining teachers for decades. Conversely, abandoning pensions in favor of 401(k) or cash balance plans would come at great cost to teacher livelihoods and erode education quality.
The persistent concentration of financial assets among the wealthiest families, combined with anemic retirement savings among most households, poses a significant economic threat to the retirement security of many working Americans.
A new research brief finds that financial asset inequality among Americans continues to increase, and the inequality is consistent across generations. This wealth inequality, combined with dangerously low retirement savings among most households, poses a significant threat to retirement for working Americans.
June 23, 2021
Testimony: Examining Pathways to Build a Stronger More Inclusive Retirement System
June 7, 2021
Will saving for retirement soon get simpler? Here’s what Congress has planned
December 22, 2020
Older workers are facing fewer job prospects and higher COVID risks
February 9, 2017
California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program (SB 1234): FAQ for Unions and Union Members
Rhee, who reviewed a copy of the rankings ahead of their release, said it was difficult to compare defined contribution and hybrid plans alongside pension plans without calculating the likely salary replacement rates under all three plans.
The data shows that pensions are the best vehicle to provide a secure retirement for our nation’s public educators. A study from the National Institute on Retirement Security and the University of California Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education that analyzed teacher pensions in six states (Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas) found that defined-benefit pensions provide a more secure retirement than defined-contribution plans such as 401(k)s.
Rhee also argued for a national universal retirement savings system. “I am agnostic on the exact policy model. Having been deeply involved with the development of the CalSavers program, I offer that there’s much to learn from the states.”
Many states have pursued their own requirements for most or all employers to offer a plan of some form, driven in part out of concern for the long-term financial burden that will arise from legions of older workers who haven’t saved enough for retirement, according to Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at the University of California at Berkeley.
Rhee told The Sacramento Bee the House retirement reform legislation, which passed the House Ways and Means Committee on a voice vote last month, “tinkers around the edges of the retirement system and will thus have a modest impact on household retirement assets.”