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LSR SUMMIT: FEDS CAN PROMOTE POLICIES FOR AND INDUSTRY CAN TAP INTO VAST MARKET OF LATINOS IN NEED OF PENSION ACCESS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Latinos for a Secure Retirement (LSR), a coalition of leading national Latino organizations, held a summit to launch its Ahorrando Para El Futuro campaign to broaden pension access for the more than 50 million Latinos now living in the United States. Studies show that Latinos, one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population, are less likely to have access to a workplace retirement plan than white Americans, and of those who have access, are less likely to participate.

“Less than a third of employed Latinos are covered by an employer sponsored retirement plan. This leaves them increasingly reliant on modest Social Security benefits and more likely as seniors to be in poverty,” said Jeff Cruz, Executive Director of LSR. “The good news is that it also represents an underserved market that could be tapped by the financial service industry.”

“I applaud the Latinos for a Secure Retirement for sponsoring this year's Latino Retirement Security Summit. The Summit will provide Latino leaders, policy makers and retirement experts with an important venue to examine ways to increase access to retirement plans for the more than 50 million Latinos now living in the United States. My automatic IRA legislation, which was recently endorsed by the Latinos for a Secure Retirement, will provide an opportunity to save through workplace contributions for the millions of American workers who have no employer-proved retirement plan,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways & Means.

“A secure retirement is a cornerstone of the American Dream,” said Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva. “Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population and workforce, but they often struggle to access or take full advantage of successful retirement programs. No retired Americans, Hispanic or otherwise, should have to choose between health care, buying groceries and paying rent. Instead of weakening Social Security – often the only safety net keeping older Hispanics out of poverty – we need to strengthen Hispanic access to retirement plans and make sure the Social Security guarantee is just as strong for the future as it is today.”

“I'm looking forward to addressing delegates at today's Latinos For A Secure Retirement summit,” George Castineiras, senior vice president, Total Retirement Solutions, Prudential Retirement. “There’s no shortage of challenges these days – volatile markets, regulatory uncertainty, budgetary pressures and a lack of confidence among plan participants that they’ll be able to make their savings last in retirement. These challenges are daunting, but not insurmountable. I look forward to chatting about better outcomes this afternoon. For example, new retirement income products have emerged over the past decade that allow individuals to create their own personal pensions while transferring some of the risk to their financial services provider.”

Speakers representing government agencies, Capitol Hill, advocacy organizations, think tanks, and academia convened on subjects including increasing defined contributions savings, using technology to improve retirement security outcomes, strengthening defined benefit pensions, and turning savings into retirement income.

As an example of federal policies that promote retirement security among Latinos, last week LSR announced its support for the Automatic-IRA legislation (H.R.4049/S. 1557) put forth by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and House Committee on Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard E. Neal (D-MA). The Automatic IRA proposal would give most workers – except for those in the smallest companies - access to a defined contribution (DC) pension retirement plan. It would be voluntary for participants, but use the default setting to encourage savings. By combining with the Savers Tax Credit, it will provide an incentive and support for low income workers to save for their retirement. The legislation would make it easier for employers to provide their employees with options to save for their retirement.

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