In May, Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced S. 1020, the Savings Enhancement by Alleviating Leakage in 401(k) Savings Act of 2011, or SEAL Act. As we’ve described before, “leakage” occurs when people cash in their 401(k)s or take out loans against their 401(k)s so that they can use the money for non-retirement purposes. It’s a chronic problem with 401(k)s – and one that has gotten worse.
We support efforts like S. 1020, which seek to preserve retirement assets for retirement. However, what really caught my eye about this legislation is the fact that, in the press release announcing the bill’s introduction, Senator Kohl cites Retirement USA’s Retirement Income Deficit as a motivating factor for the bill.
“As the frequency of retirement fund loans have gone up, the amount of money people are saving for their retirement has gone down,” Kohl said. “The gap between what Americans will need in retirement and what they will actually have saved is estimated to be a staggering $6.6 trillion dollars. While having access to a loan in an emergency is an important feature for many participants, a 401(k) savings account should not be used as a piggy bank.”
The figure was also picked up by Marketplace in its story on the legislation.
We hope that more efforts – both incremental and comprehensive – to address the Retirement income Deficit are to come.
This blog entry was cross-posted on the Retirement USA blog.