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Retirement Plans

Americans want government to play larger role in retirement planning – survey

Workers also want employers to contribute more to savings

Americans of all political stripes are worried about retirement security and want government to play a bigger role, according to a research report published Tuesday by the National Institute on Retirement at its Washington policy conference.

"Retirement Insecurity 2019: Americans' Views of the Retirement Crisis," is based on 1,250 online interviews conducted by Greenwald & Associates in January. Asked if there is a retirement crisis, 80% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans and 75% of independents agreed.

Eighty percent of respondents said that government should do more to expand workplace retirement savings options, but 84% did not think that Washington policymakers understand the need — even as "they see states doing something," NIRS Executive Director Diane Oakley said at the conference.

"Washington seems to not be getting retirement," Ms. Oakley said. "On a local level, states seem to be doing more."

Among respondents, 71% thought a state retirement program was a good idea and 25% saw it as "a very good idea." More than a third said they would participate in a program if it was offered and another third said it was somewhat likely. The prospect of a program with portability appealed to 90% of respondents.

The survey found strong support for pension plans for state and local workers and for pensions in general, with 70% saying that the average worker cannot save enough for retirement on their own.

Millennials expressed the most concern about financial security in retirement and more willingness to save more. They are also "very responsive to the idea of a defined benefit plan. We have an opportunity to help them get ready for retirement," she said.

Three-fourths of those surveyed said that employers need to contribute more, Ms. Oakley said. "Workers really want help. They want help from the government; they want help from their employers."