Retirement security might not be a voting issue the way the Iraq war, healthcare, and the economy are for many people. But Darden Business School professor Ronald Wilcox, a former Securities and Exchange Commission economist and author of Whatever Happened to Thrift? Why Americans Don't Save, and What to Do About It, recently blogged about the presidential candidates positions on retirement. The highlights:
Barack Obama supports a savings-match program for lower-income Americans that would give a 50 percent match for the first $1,000 of savings to people who make less than $75,000 annually. He also proposes a federally mandated IRA plan that would require small businesses to allow employees access to a government-sponsored retirement savings plan.The savings-match program proposed by Hillary Clinton (she hasn't officially withdrawn yet) would match funds dollar-for-dollar up to $1,000 for families earning under $60,000. She's also for an "American Retirement Account" plan, which would allow all Americans to contribute up to $5,000 to an IRA on a tax-deferred basis, regardless of their employment situation.
John McCain proposes partial privatization of Social Security and decreasing taxes on capital gains and dividends.
I asked Wilcox what advice he has about being a better retirement saver, regardless of how the election turns out. "Set it up so that money is automatically deducted from your paycheck so you never see it," is Wilcox's time-tested advice. "Divert a portion of your raise into savings."