Legislators Reintroduce RETIRE Act to Congress

The bill would allow retirement plan sponsors to automatically default participants into receiving plan documents and statements online.

U.S. House Representative Jared Polis, D-Colorado, and Representative Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, introduced legislation to help Americans plan for retirement.   

The Receiving Electronic Statements to Improve Retiree Earnings (RETIRE) Act was previously introduced in 2015.

The RETIRE Act would ensure employers make retirement information easily accessible online, while providing protections for employees who prefer to receive paper documents. Under current law, employers are required to mail paper documents such as notices, disclosures and statements to plan participants.

“We need to make it easier for Americans to think about and plan for retirement,” Polis said in a statement. “Nowadays, most Americans prefer their inbox to their mailbox.  The RETIRE Act makes planning one-click away by giving employees online access to their retirement information.  Not only does it make retirement information more accessible, but it helps the environment and reduces costs by cutting back on wasted paper.”

“Today, more and more Americans are choosing to manage their finances online,” said Roe. “By encouraging savers to receive their retirement plan information online, this commonsense bill will lower administrative costs, provide more timely access to plan information and allow greater interaction with and personalization of retirement savings. At the same time, this legislation provides important consumer protections, allowing participants to opt out and receive paper statements at any time with no additional cost.”

Tim Rouse, executive director of the SPARK Institute, commended legislators for reintroducing the bill. “The RETIRE Act ensures retirement savers will have greater access to needed information and online tools to assist them as they save and plan to retire,” he said in a statement.

The SPARK Institute previously released a white paper from Quantria Strategies, LLC entitled “Improving Outcomes with Electronic Delivery of Retirement Plan Documents,” which examines the rationales for allowing plan sponsors to make electronic delivery the default method for communicating with retirement plan participants. The white paper calculates that switching to an electronic delivery default would produce $200 to $500 million in aggregate savings annually that would accrue directly to individual retirement plan participants.