Testimony: Gaps in Retirement Savings Based on Race, Ethnicity and Gender

Nari Rhee

Testimony of Nari Rhee before the U.S. DOL ERISA Advisory Council Hearing

Abstract

The US private sector employer-sponsored retirement system leaves out many workers, disproportionately impacting Blacks and Latinos. Rates of retirement plan access vary widely by occupation, industry, and wage level, and part-time/full-time status. The system interacts with labor market segmentation and social inequality – for instance in employment opportunity, generational wealth, and responsibility for care work — to produce marked inequalities in retirement assets by race, gender, and income. 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.

Read the testimony