The State of U.S. Retirement Security: 2022 and Beyond

The State of U.S. Retirement Security 2022 and Beyond

March 2, 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. CT

Life-expectancy is at a historic high, yet only 50% of employees are enrolled in employer plans designed to supplement retirement income, and of those, only the top 10% have adequate account balances. In response to a flurry of legislative activity at the federal and state levels, and a looming Social Security deadline, we convened two panels of retirement security policy experts to weigh in on the state of U.S. retirement security. Join us to learn more about the key challenges facing both current employees and retirees, reform proposals, and innovative policy solutions.

Accessing this Event

Attendees will be able to access this event via Zoom webinar link on Wednesday, March 2, shortly before the event begins at 1 p.m. CST.

Accommodations

The general sessions for this event will feature ASL and live captioning in English. Presentations will be made available in advance of the event. If you have questions about specific accommodations, please contact Emily Schettler, emily.schettler@drake.edu or 515-271-3592.

Agenda

All times presented are in Central Standard Time (CST).

1:00-1:15 p.m. | Opening Remarks

    • Joseph Jones, Executive Director, The Harkin Institute
    • Senator Tom Harkin (retired)

1:15 – 2:15 p.m. | Panel: The retirement security landscape: Key policy issues

  • Moderator: Rayna Stoycheva, Director of Retirement Security Policy, The Harkin Institute
  • Sita Slavov, Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University | Presentation pptx, Presentation pdf
  • Aron Szapiro, Head of Retirement Studies and Public Policy, Morningstar | Presentation pptx, Presentation pdf
  • Tyler Bond, Research Manager, National Institute on Retirement Security | Presentation pptx
  • Angela Antonelli, Research Professor and Executive Director, Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University | Presentation pdf

15 minute break

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Roundtable: Legislative and reform priorities

  • Moderator: David John, Deputy Director, Retirement Security Project, Brookings and Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute
  • Kendra Isaacson, Senior Pensions Counsel at Senate HELP Committee
  • Nancy Altman, President, Social Security Works
  • Lance Schoening, Director of Policy – Government Relations, Principal Financial Group
  • Eric Kool, Director, Polk County Community, Family and Youth Services | State of Black Polk County – One Economy ReportCities for Financial Empowerment Fund

New Brief! Closing the Retirement Savings Gap

Half of U.S. employees do not participate in a retirement savings program in their workplace. Part-time and low-wage employees, and those employed by small businesses and in service occupations, have the lowest access and participation rates. This brief examines the role of state retirement savings programs in addressing this problem.

Speakers

Nancy Altman, President, Social Security Works

Nancy J. Altman has a forty-five year background in the areas of Social Security and private pensions. She is president of Social Security Works and chair of the Strengthen Social Security coalition. Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed Ms. Altman to a six-year term, starting October 1, 2017, on the Social Security Advisory Board. The seven-person Board is a bipartisan, independent federal government agency established in 1994 to advise the President, Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security. Ms. Altman is the author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) and The Truth About Social Security: The Founders’ Words Refute Revisionist History, Zombie Lies, and Common Misunderstandings (Strong Arm Press, 2018). She is also co-author of Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All (The New Press, 2015). She has shared her Social Security expertise on numerous television and radio shows, including PBS NewsHour, MSNBC, and FOX News. She has published op-eds in dozens of newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Angela Antonelli, Research Professor and Executive Director, Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University

Angela M. Antonelli is a Research Professor and the Executive Director of the Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.  She also is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. As the Executive Director of the CRI, Angela works closely with policymakers, states and stakeholders to strengthen retirement security by expanding the availability and improving the effectiveness of retirement savings, investment and income solutions for private sector workers. Angela is relied upon for her insights and opinions on issues related to retirement security and savings, including options for plan design and related legal and regulatory considerations, appearing in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Pensions & Investments and many other major news outlets. She serves as an expert advisor to the World Economic Forum Retirement Investment Reform Project, is an invited regular contributor to Forbes.com and MarketWatch, and has served as a member or advisor to several state retirement task forces.

Tyler Bond, Research Manager, National Institute on Retirement Security

Tyler Bond is the research manager for the National Institute on Retirement Security. He works with the executive director to plan all NIRS research products. Since joining NIRS, Bond has authored and co-authored research reports, issue briefs, and fact sheets on a wide variety of topics relating to retirement security. He has spoken at multiple conferences about NIRS research and has testified before policymakers. Previously, Bond spent four years at the National Public Pension Coalition, where he directed the research program and authored six original research reports. He also has held positions on Capitol Hill and at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Bond holds a B.A. in political science and philosophy from Indiana University and an M.A. in public policy from The George Washington University. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Kendra Isaacson, Senior Pensions Counsel at Senate HELP Committee

Kendra Kosko Isaacson serves as Pensions Policy Director and Senior Tax Counsel to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, where she advises Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and other committee members on ERISA and all retirement-related issues. She is also a member of the Committee’s Oversight Team where she assists with nominations and financial conflicts of interest.  Kendra also advises Senator Murray on all tax-related matters.  Kendra was selected as a Stennis Fellow for the 117th Congress. Kendra received her B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College, a J.D., with honors, from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law, and an LL.M in Taxation with a certificate in Employee Benefits from the Georgetown University Law Center.

David John, Deputy Director, Retirement Security Project, Brookings and Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute

David C. John is a Senior Strategic Policy Advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute focusing on pension and retirement savings issues. PPI is AARP’s internal think tank. John also serves as the Deputy Director of the Retirement Security Project at the Brookings Institution. RSP focuses on improving retirement savings in the United States, especially among moderate and low income workers. John is also the co-creator with J. Mark Iwry of the Automatic IRA, a small business retirement savings program for firms that do not sponsor any other form of retirement savings or pension plan. In addition, John has written on a wide variety of other related topics including automatic enrollment for emergency savings, improving the Saver’s Credit, dashboards, and a variety of ways to convert savings into retirement income. He is also the co-editor of the new book, Wealth After Work: Innovative Reforms to Expand Retirement Security.

Eric Kool, Director, Polk County Community, Family and Youth Services

Eric Kool is the Director of Polk County Community, Family and Youth Services (CFYS); the county social services department.   CFYS provides a number of direct services to the public including food programs, well elderly programming, emergency assistance, victim services, youth services and family development services.  CFYS is also involved in many community initiatives related to housing, homelessness, refugee supports, and is the lead agency for emergency sheltering.  Most recently CFYS has started providing professional financial counseling at no cost to Polk County residents, through the Polk County Financial Empowerment Center.  Prior to working with Polk County, Eric was the Assistant Chief Juvenile Court Officer for the 5th Judicial District, with 26 years’ experience in juvenile justice and child welfare.

Lance Schoening, Director of Policy – Government Relations, Principal Financial Group

Lance Schoening is Director of Policy – Government Relations at PrincipalSM, a leading global financial services company offering businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, with a strong emphasis on providing retirement plan solutions to businesses of all sizes and to their employees. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Lance is responsible for analysis of proposed and new retirement legislation and regulation and advocacy efforts in conjunction with industry trades to promote policies that support retirement readiness efforts. Lance also serves as a policy board member of the American Benefits Council and chairs the Retirement Plans Committee of the American Council of Life Insurers. Lance started his career with Principal in 1994 and has served in numerous roles within the Retirement & Income Services division during that time.  Lance holds a bachelor’s degree in international business studies from Wartburg College and has earned the Retirement Plans Associate designation within the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) program.

Sita Slavov, Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

Sita Nataraj Slavov is a professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and an editor at the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University and her B.A. from the College of William and Mary. Professor Slavov’s research focuses primarily on public finance and the economics of aging. She has published numerous articles, book chapters, and policy briefs on work at older ages and retirement policy. Her work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Health Economics, the Journal of Public Economics, the Journal of Human Resources, the Review of Economic Studies, and the Journal of Public Economic Theory. In addition to her scholarly work, she has published many op-eds and blog posts in outlets such as the New York Times Room for Debate, the Los Angeles Times, Real Clear Markets, and the U.S. News Economic Intelligence Blog.

Rayna Stoycheva, Director of Retirement Security Policy, The Harkin Institute

Dr. Rayna Stoycheva is an experienced policy researcher and faculty in public administration and policy. She joined The Harkin Institute in 2021, motivated by the opportunity to contribute to public policy making through high-quality policy analysis and citizen engagement in the policy process. Dr. Stoycheva is interested in improving the social safety net through policy design and financial management. As the Director of Retirement Security Policy, she is responsible for research on public and private retirement programs, retirement savings access and adequacy, financial literacy, and pension wealth inequality. Prior to joining The Harkin Institute, Dr. Stoycheva was a faculty member at the University of Miami, where she taught courses in policy analysis, public finance, health economics, microeconomics, and statistics. Her publications include articles and book chapters on pensions, state and local public finance, and the financial management of international organizations. Dr. Stoycheva received her Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Economics from the American University in Bulgaria, and a Masters degree in Public Administration from Ohio University. She received a joint PhD in Public Policy, with a concentration in Public Finance, from Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Aron Szapiro, Head of Retirement Studies and Public Policy, Morningstar

Aron Szapiro is head of retirement studies and public policy for Morningstar. Szapiro is responsible for developing research reports on policy matters, coordinating official responses to regulatory proposals, and providing investor-focused comments on policy issues to clients and the press. He also chairs Morningstar’s Public Policy Council. Szapiro also heads the Morningstar Center for Retirement Studies. His research has been covered in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Journal of Retirement, and on National Public Radio. Before assuming his current role in June 2021, he served as Morningstar’s head of policy research and as policy and finance expert at HelloWallet, a former subsidiary of Morningstar. Previously, he was a senior analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), specializing in retirement security issues and pension plan policy. He also worked at the New Jersey General Assembly Majority Office. Szapiro holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Grinnell College and a master’s in public policy from Johns Hopkins University.

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