May 19, 2022
Shortly before the passage of the 2006 Pension Protection Act, I had the honor of presenting at the 2006 Saver Summit, which was conducted by the Department of Labor under the Savings Are Vital to Everyone’s Retirement Act of 1997. The purpose of the SAVER Act was to advance the public’s knowledge and understanding of the importance of retirement savings. Then-Secretary-of-Labor Elaine Chao summarized the Summit as “[bringing] together more than 200 statutory and appointed delegates as a nonpartisan group with diverse expertise ... to explore ways to help all Americans retire with security and dignity.” The Summit was meant to educate and motivate people to develop their own personal retirement saving strategies, and to develop recommendations to help individuals overcome obstacles and take advantage of opportunities to save for their futures.
More than 16 years later, much has been accomplished in the U.S. retirement system. Yet, arguably there is still a great deal more to do to achieve the dream of a sound savings system that involves a public/private partnership that will allow American workers to achieve financial security in retirement and throughout their working and retirement years. Namely:
The bottom line is that piecemeal efforts to address gaps in the retirement system are not sufficient. Further, asking individuals to overcome obstacles on their own without sufficient support from the system — as we did in the 2006 Saver Summit — is tantamount to asking someone to learn to fix their car without giving them the right tools. Clearly, it is time to revisit the state of the retirement system from a holistic perspective: What is it missing, and what does it need to look like to achieve retirement income security for all American workers?
Joined by representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Employee Benefit Research Institute is hosting a Retirement Summit in December 2022 to address this important topic. The event will convene high-ranking thought leaders in the retirement industry, as well as among employers, consultants, policymakers, regulators, and academics to tackle the important challenge of creating a more integrated, equitable, and effective U.S. retirement system.
It Is Time to Think Big
Countries such as the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand have sought to create a holistic, comprehensive plan for a long-term, implementable vision of a public/private savings system that will better meet the needs of their work force and retirees. It is time the U.S. did so as well. The 2022 Retirement Summit will:
The 2022 Retirement Summit will bring together leading retirement and savings experts, policymakers, and innovators, including:
The goals of the 2022 Retirement Summit are lofty, but EBRI, its Board, representatives such as Kathleen Kennedy Townsend of the Department of Labor, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others believe it is time to take on this challenge.
If you are interested in participating in the 2022 Retirement Summit, please let me know!
President and CEO
 VanDerhei, Jack, “Impact of Various Legislative Proposals and Industry Innovations on Retirement Income Adequacy,” EBRI Issue Brief, no. 550 (Employee Benefit Research Institute, January 20, 2022).