Catherine Harvey is a policy research senior analyst at the AARP Public Policy Institute, where she works on savings policy, with a focus on improving retirement security for millions of Americans whose employers do not offer a retirement plan.

We Trust States to Promote College Savings. Why Not Retirement Savings?

One of the most popular ways to save for higher education is through a savings or prepaid tuition plan known as a Section 529 qualified tuition program, or 529 plan. Currently 49 states and the District of Columbia offer 529 plans. Thirty-three states give a state tax break to parents, grandparents or friends who contribute to a 529 account. Through these plans, the funds are managed by private-sector investors. This professional management, combined with a simple enrollment process, has spurred …

State-Facilitated Retirement Plans Will Be Payroll as Usual

More than 30 states are considering creating retirement savings plans for small-business employees who do not have a retirement plan at work, and seven states are already implementing them. These programs would provide the opportunity for millions more workers to save for retirement out of their regular paychecks (i.e., payroll deduction) — the single most effective method for encouraging retirement savings. Payroll deductions into personal retirement accounts are a central feature of several state-facilitated retirement savings programs. What does this …

Narrowing the Racial Wealth Gap

Two hundred twenty-eight years. That’s how long it would take for the average household wealth of black families in America to reach the average wealth of white families today, according to a new report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and the Institute for Policy Studies. For Latino families, it would take 84 years. This startling new perspective on economic inequality has grabbed headlines in recent weeks. But what is not making the news is that these statistics are …