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New Bill Aids People Planning for Retirement


Monday, September 19, 2022   

A new piece of legislation in Congress will help people across the U.S. prepare for retirement with greater ease.

The EARN Act - short for Enhancing American Retirement Now - reduces requirements for part-time workers to participate in retirement plans, allows for penalty-free emergency withdrawals from retirement accounts, and encourages small businesses to adopt retirement plans.

AARP Connecticut state director Nora Duncan said she feels this will expand people's options when they consider retirement planning.

"While Social Security continues to be the bedrock of retirement income for American workers and their families," said Duncan, "individuals want and need additional retirement income sources in order to live the way they need to as they age."

The EARN Act comes just as Connecticut became one of a few states with state retirement plans, which Duncan said she feels could help businesses of all sizes establish some kind of retirement plan.

Other states with these kinds of plans include California, Oregon and Illinois. Although these plans are relatively new, data from the Pew Research Center shows these plans have seen steady growth since their inception.

While the EARN Act is still relatively new, Duncan said she sees some potential opposition to it coming from the finance sector regarding how people receive their statements.

According to data from AARP, more than half of adults with employer-sponsored retirement plans would prefer paper statements.

She said she feels some benefits to the new bill come with drawbacks as well.

"Being able to qualify for retirement savings at work in two years of part-time work with a company rather than three, really makes it easier to save for retirement," said Duncan. "But, this isn't particularly helpful to the many older workers who can only find part-time work."

She added that this also might not be helpful for people who have to work part-time, due to caregiving responsibilities.

But, the EARN Act has received a great deal of bipartisan support in Congress, providing the possibility of its safe passage in the coming months.

Disclosure: AARP Connecticut contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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