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Bill Would Clear Way for More Annuities in Retirement Plans

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Lawmakers are floating two bills to provide retirees with access to annuities and to modernize how they receive retirement statements.

Reps. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., and Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., introduced Monday H.R. 4604, the Increasing Access to a Secure Retirement Act, while Reps. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. and Jared Polis, D-Colo., reintroduced H.R. 4610, the Receiving Electronic Statements to Improve Retiree Earnings Act, or RETIRE Act.

The Increasing Access to a Secure Retirement Act  would enable employers to provide workers guaranteed lifetime income products in their retirement plans.

The bill provides a clear path for employers to meet their fiduciary obligations and will allow more retirement savers the opportunity to convert their retirement savings into guaranteed lifetime income.

The RETIRE Act  enables employers to use electronic communications, reduce administrative costs, and maintain important safeguards to ensure participants who still want to receive required communications in paper format to do so.

Under current law, Polis said when first floating the legislation in the last Congress, “employers are required to waste significant money and paper mailing documents like notices, disclosures and statements to retirees.”

Estimates put the costs of sending just one four-page notice to recipients at between $36 million and $60 million, the lawmakers note.

“We need to make it easier for Americans to think about and plan for retirement,” said Polis in a statement announcing the legislation. “Nowadays, most Americans prefer their inbox to their mailbox. The RETIRE Act makes planning one click away by giving employees online access to their retirement information. Not only does it make retirement information more accessible, but it helps the environment and reduces costs by cutting back on wasted paper.”

The Insured Retirement Institute said in a statement that it is “committed to working” with Walberg, Blunt, Polis and Roe “to move these bills forward in 2018.”

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