Retirement Coverage Expanded: UK vs US

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Squared Away blog, April 9, 2015

President Obama signed a January memo officially launching his MyRA program to encourage saving by low-income and other Americans who lack a retirement plan through their employers. The United Kingdom is also addressing pension shortfalls for uncovered workers in a much more ambitious way. The U.K. program, put in place in 2012, has two key provisions that MyRA lacks: it automatically enrolls workers so more will save in the first place, and it provides them with matching contributions. The U.K. program has enrolled 1.8 million of the 4 million workers targeted, primarily at small employers. A 2014 study by the Center for Retirement Research, which supports this blog, described the program and compared it with MyRA…. Unlike NEST accounts, MyRAs are voluntary for employers and don’t automatically enroll employees. It’s important to note, however, that since MyRAs were approved by presidential administrative action, there were constraints on the program’s design. Specifically, an auto-enroll feature was not possible without legislation. With the U.K. program now reaching half of all the workers targeted, it seems to be validating what the retirement experts already know works….