Working people saving for retirement are losing billions

 

The fiduciary rule is an Obama-era regulation that protects Americans’ hard-earned retirement savings by requiring that financial professionals offering retirement investment advice put their clients’ interests first. The rule was supposed to be implemented on April 10, 2017. But the Trump administration has repeatedly delayed enforcement of the rule, most recently to July 1, 2019, and is using the rule-making process and delays to significantly weaken the rule.

Because of the enforcement delays, industry actors presenting themselves as neutral advisers can continue to steer retirement savers to products with high fees and commissions that benefit the advisers but reduce net returns for the client. The map shows the annual costs retirement savers in each state incur due to underperforming IRA assets that are invested in products for which savers received “conflicted” advice (that is, advice provided by financial advisers whose earnings depend on the actions taken by the client).1

EPI has used the data on annual losses to retirement savers from conflicted advice to estimate that an August 2017 Department of Labor directive delaying the rule for 18 months, to July 1, 2019, would cost workers saving for retirement $10.9 billion dollars over the next 30 years.

1. Underperformance of investment returns in which savers received conflicted advice can be attributed to a wide range of factors, including high fees, high trading costs, poor market timing, and increased risk exposure without increased returns.

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Reposted from EPI

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder