For all of the talk about the importance of saving for retirement through a 401(k) and other savings plans, 37% of those born in 1990 and just now entering the workforce will have no savings by the time they leave the workforce, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office, Dow Jones reports.
Those who earn low salaries are particularly in danger of not being prepared for retirement not just because they lack the funds to set aside but because the preferential tax treatment for contributions is not likely to persuade them to save.
Defined contribution plans present “major challenges” for workers, the GAO report said. “While some workers save significant amounts toward their retirement in [defined contribution] plans, a large proportion of workers will likely not save enough in [such] plans for a secure retirement. Many of these workers face competing income demands for basic necessities that may make contributions to their retirement plans difficult.”
The GAO issued the report at the request of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Today’s workers will more likely struggle to make ends meet during retirement than previous generations,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). “While Social Security faces long-term challenges that must be addressed, this GAO report makes it clear that the real retirement security crisis is the lack of savings in private retirement plan[s].”
Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), added, “[The] need for action is imperative. [The] GAO report is a clear indication that a large portion of Americans are heading toward retirement insecurity.”
Two ways that the GAO suggests improving the savings rate that have not been widely discussed in the industry are, first, letting a worker be eligible to contribute to their 401(k) plan immediately after joining a company and, second, automatically rolling over their 401(k) balance to the plan at a new company when they leave the firm.