March 7, 2011
International Foundation to Lead a New Retirement Security Initiative
Educational Association Will Focus on a Long-Term Discussion
Brookfield, Wisconsin—The volatility in state capitols across the country has central themes: elected leaders struggling to balance budgets, and workers fearing the loss of retirement security for both the present and the future.
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans membership encompasses a broad spectrum of business sectors: multiemployer (Taft Hartley) funds, public employee plans and single-employer plans in both the United States and Canada. They include professional advisors, employers and unions who together have shaped their retirement plans and strategies. The current legislative and financial climate has generated unprecedented levels of concern about the future of retirement and financial security for all of these groups.
Individuals’ heightened awareness that their retirement security is threatened stems from several factors: the country’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the changing role of the employer in the provision of retirement benefits, expanded accounting and regulatory disclosures and liabilities that have influenced a shift away from defined benefits at retirement, the ever-increasing costs of health care and long-term care, longer life spans, the ongoing debate regarding the adequacy of the Social Security trust fund, extended periods of unemployment and an inability to build adequate savings.
The International Foundation, a non-profit educational association, is committed to hosting an open and objective dialogue on issues relevant to retirement security. Over the next two years, the Foundation is working with thought leaders to discuss retirement security as it relates to:
Defined benefit plans—the traditional “pension plan” where a set amount is promised to the retiree
Defined contribution plans—such as a 401(k), 403(b) or money purchase plans
Social Security—some projections have the trust fund being exhausted in 2037
Financial literacy and long-term financial planning
Health care—in the past 10 years, employees’ health care premiums have more than doubled, and it is estimated that a retired couple will spend about $200,000 or more for health care during retirement
This initiative will include leaders from all sectors such as state and local public employee plans, corporate benefit plans and collectively bargained benefit plans in the U.S. and Canada. The goal of this initiative is to facilitate learning, education and discussion of the issues and innovative ideas and approaches on issues impacting retirement security.
“Retirement security is an evolving issue presenting unprecedented challenges. As the educational body for retirement program plan sponsors and trust funds, we hope to generate a thoughtful exchange of information among those knowledgeable of today’s environment. This can form a basis for informed decisions on all aspects of this subject,” said Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation. “We are expecting to develop numerous educational opportunities beginning in the next few months and carrying into the next several years.”
The International Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to being a leading objective and independent global source of employee benefits, compensation and financial literacy education and information.