Senate Aging Committee Examines Recommendations to Address America’s Retirement Crisis

Committee Hearing Analyzes the Bipartisan Policy Center's Ideas to Boost Savings and Close $7.7 Trillion Retirement Security Gap

Washington, D.C.— As of 2015, the difference between what people have saved and what they will need to live in retirement was a staggering $7.7 trillion.  This serious gap is concerning workers across our country, 82 percent of whom say their generation will have a much harder time achieving financial security compared to their parents’ generation.

As part of their bipartisan commitment to addressing America’s retirement crisis, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing today titled, “Securing America's Retirement Future: Examining the Bipartisan Policy Center's Recommendations to Boost Savings.”  The hearing examined the findings of a two-year study conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings.  Former Senator Kent Conrad and James Lockhart III, who serve as co-chairs of the Commission, testified about the BPC Commission’s work to identify recommendations that could increase and improve retirement savings.

“According to the Center for Retirement Research, there is an estimated $7.7 trillion gap between what Americans have saved for retirement and what they will actually need.  Making matters worse, the Federal Reserve found that nearly half of individuals do not have enough savings to cover an emergency expense of $400. That’s not even enough to buy new tires for a car.  And it means people are withdrawing from their retirement accounts just to pay unexpected expenses,” said Senator Collins.  “Neither party has a monopoly on good ideas to address this crisis.  Surely, we can make progress toward the goal of ensuring that those who worked hard for decades do not spend their retirement years in poverty.”

“Our committee has rightly focused on ways to ensure Americans have opportunities to put money aside and not outlive their savings, and has also done a lot of bipartisan work ensuring people are not defrauded out of their life savings in or near retirement,” said Senator McCaskill. “With a $7.7 trillion retirement gap, this issue is more important than ever to our Committee and the American public.”

“We are encouraged that the issues of savings and retirement security have attracted bipartisan interest...” said Mr. Conrad and Mr. Lockhart in their written testimony.  “We hope that our work can inform these efforts and can contribute to meaningful action by individuals, businesses, and governments to improve retirement security in the United States.”

Under Chairman Collins’ and Ranking Member McCaskill’s leadership, the Senate Aging Committee has made addressing the retirement security crisis a top priority, holding a series of hearings to examine and advance solutions.  They have also worked to protect older Americans hard-earned savings by combatting fraud that targets seniors.  Last year, Senators Collins and McCaskill introduced the Senior$afe Act, bipartisan legislation that would implement innovative financial protections for seniors in Maine and across the country.

“While not specifically tackled in our report, we want to commend the Committee for its bipartisan efforts in the area of the Senior$afe Act, which aims to protect seniors from fraud and financial exploitation,” said Mr. Lockhart.  “That’s a very important issue for older Americans.”

Click HERE for a copy of Senator Collins’ remarks

Click HERE for a copy of Senator McCaskill’s remarks as prepared for delivery