The Pension Protection Act is proving to help people better prepare for retirement by easing employers’ liabilities for automatically enrolling workers in retirement savings plans. But millions of middle- or lower-income Americans are still underserved, particularly if they work for small employers that don’t offer a 401(k) plan, The Wall Street Journal reports.

 

One of the latest suggestions is to automatically deposit a portion of workers’ salaries into an IRA, either of the employers’ or the employees’ own choosing, up to the annual limit of $5,000. In this scenario, employers would not make a matching contribution and the investment options available would be few, with the default option a target-date fund-of-index funds.

 

Critics, however, fear that investors might be tempted to withdraw assets from such funds and to disregard their regular 401(k). Some fear that a government-run savings program would undermine the privately operated retirement savings industry.

 

Another solution is to finally be able to provide low-cost retirement savings and planning advice for the masses. Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab have been attempting to help their investors, for instance, either through online tools or one-on-one advice for investors who meet certain criteria, such as having a minimum $100,000 invested.

 

“When we look at everyday families in the U.S.,” said Andy Sieg, who runs an investment advisory service at Smith Barney, dubbed “myFi,” or “My Financial Life,” “we think they have a need that’s not being met today, to help them get their arms around their entire financial life.”

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