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Two retirement bills would create 51 million new savers and $6.2 trillion in savings

July 29, 2021, 3:38 PM UTC

Lawmakers recently rolled out two new pieces of legislation that could have a game-changing impact on the number of Americans saving for retirement. 

In a Senate Finance hearing Wednesday, the CEO of the American Retirement Association Brian Graff testified that passing both the Automatic IRA Act and the Encouraging Americans to Save Act would create 51 million new retirement savers and generate $6.2 trillion in retirement savings over 10 years. 

“The potential results of Congress tackling the two biggest challenges in the retirement savings policy space—closing the retirement coverage gap and directly contributing to and incentivizing the retirement savings of moderate-income workers—are extraordinary,” Graff said Wednesday. 

The Automatic IRA Act, introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would require employers with more than 10 workers to automatically enroll employees in a retirement plan. The bill would provide tax credits to employers to defray the costs of setting up the accounts.   

The Encouraging Americans to Save Act, introduced last week by Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), would replace the current saver’s tax credit with a government matching program that would match contributions of up to $1,000 per year made to retirement accounts by individuals with income up to $32,500 and married couples with income up to $65,000

This bill would make 120 million Americans eligible for the saver’s match program, including gig workers and government workers like teachers who are not traditionally provided access to matching programs, according to ARA. 

Additionally, about 98% of the estimated 51 million brand new retirement savers earn less than $100,000 and would benefit Black and Latino Americans. ARA estimated that the two legislative proposals would help 5.8 million Black Americans and 8.4 million Latino Americans become new retirement savers. 

“I hope today’s hearing is a launching pad for the committee to develop another bipartisan retirement package in the months ahead,” Wyden said Wednesday. 

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