On the Lookout for a New Retirement Standard

Posted March 24, 2010

Retirement USA, a new national initiative is on the lookout for a way to have a standardized national retirement system.  

Launched in March 2009 the coalition is made up of groups representing management, labor and retiree organizations all attempting to address the short comings of both Defined Benefit Plans and 401(k) Retirement Plans.  The group says that it is looking to provide for a universal, secure and adequate retirement system that, when combined with Social Security, will provide more reliable income to future retirees. 

Groups participating in the leadership of Retirement USA include:  the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the Pension Rights Center, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Service Employees International Union.  In its first year the group has expanded to over 25 organizations working to advocate for and seek out a universal system of retirement income and healthcare. 

Meeting with pension experts and representatives of worker and retiree organizations, the group is examining a variety of pension plans and systems from around the world to determine the principles that should guide the design of a new visionary retirement system.  

Late in 2009, the group hosted the “Re-Envisioning Retirement Security Conference” in Washington, DC. which had a prominent group of participants, among them: Hilda Solis, U.S. Labor Secretary; Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO; Anna Burger, secretary-treasurer of SEIU and chair of Change to Win; along with Karen Ferguson, director of the Pension Rights Center.

During the event the group reviewed half–dozen proposals put forth by groups including: Catholic University School of Law, University of Sciences in Philadelphia, The New School for Social Research, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and the employer-sponsored Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Industry Committee.

The group heard proposals ranging from “Guaranteed and Variable Defined Benefit Plans” to “Community Investment Plans” and is soliciting more proposals on how to secure universal retirement, to be submitted through their website where they say retirement experts will review them.  

All proposals must reflect and address Retirement USA’s 12 retirement principles: universal coverage, secure retirement, adequate income, shared responsibility, required contributions, pooled assets, payouts only at retirement, lifetime payouts, portable benefits, voluntary savings, efficient and transparent administration and effective oversight. 

Retirement USA is seeking well developed ideas on the future of retirement.  Submit a proposal at: http://www.retirement-usa.org/proposal/