Retirement Legislation to Watch in the New Year

Jan 1, 2019 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

Happy New Year from the staff at Horsesmouth and Savvy Social Security! May the year ahead be filled with personal growth, learning, and camaraderie. We know you’ll keep helping clients prepare for retirement, and it’s going to be a busy year in Washington and state capitals for policymakers working to improve the retirement security of millions of Americans. Here is a look at crucial retirement policy topics to watch in the year ahead.

Savings plans. Some states are starting programs that automatically sign up workers who don’t have workplace 401(k) accounts or Individual Retirement Accounts. Over time, employers in many of these states will be required to set up automatic payroll deductions for these accounts and enroll workers, although they will not need to make matching contributions.

Saving one million pensions. A special congressional committee is racing to head off an insolvency crisis, one that could lead to sharp cuts in pension benefits for over a million workers and retirees, and sink a federally sponsored insurance backup program. The problem centers on so-called multiemployer pension plans. Over 10 million workers and retirees are covered by 1,400 of these plans, which are created under collective bargaining agreements and jointly funded by groups of employers in industries like construction, trucking, mining and food retailing.

Protecting investors from conflicted advice The long-running battle to require brokers to look out for the best interests of clients will continue in 2019. The S.E.C. is moving toward adoption of a “regulation best interest” standard following the end this year of an advice standard created by the Obama-era Labor Department. That regulation, which required advice on retirement accounts to meet fiduciary standards, was opposed by the financial services and insurance industries, which argued that it made advising smaller investors too costly.

Expanding Social Security. Proposals to overhaul Social Security by progressives are likely to get a hearing in the new Democratic-controlled House. And the likely new chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, Representative John B. Larson, Democrat of Connecticut, is the author of expansion legislation that has more than 170 co-sponsors in the House, including the incoming Ways and Means chairman.

You can find the full New York Times article here.


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