Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! As we do most weeks, we have gathered the top stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.

Here are this week’s top stories:

  • State I.R.A. Plans Are Ready, if Congress Doesn’t Interfere by Richard Thaler: behavioral economist Thaler discusses the merits of “Secure Choice” retirement savings plans that several states have recently adopted. These state-facilitated automatic savings programs are currently being threatened by action in Congress. (We examined these plans in a blog post last week)
  • A secure retirement preserves the American dream by Jennifer Muir Beuthin: the general manager of the Orange County Employees Association pushes back against the wealthy special interests advocating to gut pensions in California. As she points out, 401(k)s have failed to provide retirement security for working families and a majority of Americans wish they had access to a traditional pension.
  • More Americans Live in Fear of Retiring Poor by Suzanne Woolley: a recent survey by the National Institute on Retirement Security found a surprising amount of agreement among Americans about the retirement savings crisis, regardless of political party. 85 percent of Americans say politicians in Washington just don’t understand how difficult it is to save for retirement. 71 percent of those surveyed said pensions were better than 401(k)s at helping working families prepare for retirement.
  • Public pensions are in better shape than you think by Ryan Cooper: Cooper recounts the findings of a recent paper by Berkeley professor Tom Sgouros about how the fiscal health of public pension plans are measured. Sgouros argues that the funding requirements applied to private-sector pension plans don’t make sense for public plans because a private business and a state government are two fundamentally different entities.
  • Petersen: Let’s protect Iowans’ retirement security by State Sen. Janet Petersen: a state senator from Des Moines expresses concern about potential changes to the Iowa public pension system. Petersen concludes: “Unnecessary changes to IPERS are not fair to public employees who are counting on the retirement they’ve contributed to throughout their careers. It is every legislator’s responsibility to support a strong pension program for hardworking Iowans.”

Be sure to check back in the weeks ahead for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!