Giving Compass' Take:

• David Mitchell shares key takeaways from the Aspen Leadership forum on Retirement Savings about ways to make retirement in the U.S. more inclusive. 

• How can funders help to support more inclusive retirement? 

• Learn about alternative retirement planning

Why is the US retirement system serving some Americans so much better than others? Forum participants identified major reasons:

  • The coverage gap. Millions of Americans have no easy way to save for retirement through work. While Forum participants disagreed about the exact size of the gap and how best to measure it, most agreed that it was a fundamental shortcoming of the current system.
  • Widespread financial instability. Those struggling economically in retirement are usually those who struggled economically during their working life. Given that financial instability among American workers is rising, now reaching well into the middle class, the stress on the country’s retirement system will likely intensify going forward.
  • Increases in longevity. Even as workers face economic headwinds, they generally are enjoying longer lifespans—and—thus longer retirements. This poses various challenges to the retirement system, including the growing and urgent need for “lifetime income” options.
  • The evolving social contract. Some retirement-system risks that were shared in traditional pension models now rest solely on the shoulders of individuals. This risk shift has occurred in tandem with a decline in trust in institutions and elites, making attempts to reshape the social contract more difficult.
  • Lack of political will. The challenges facing the American retirement system are subtle and slow developing, more chronic disease than headline-grabbing epidemic. This makes galvanizing action on the part of politicians all the more complicated.

Read the full article about building an inclusive US retirement system by David Mitchell at The Aspen Institute.