Will Saving Trees Save Retirement?

More information and less waste

401k, retirement, statements, reporting, regulationBetter for participants, better for the planet.

It appears so, and the cost savings of electronic versus paper statements alone could go a long way in reducing 401k plan costs.

It’s one reason Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, introduced the bipartisan Receiving Electronic Statements to Improve Retiree Earnings (RETIRE) Act.

The politicos say the RETIRE Act would ensure 401k plan sponsors make retirement information easily accessible online, while providing protections for employees who prefer to receive paper documents.

Under current law, employers are required to spend significant money and use significant amounts of paper mailing documents like notices, disclosures, and statements to retirees.

It’s estimated that the cost of sending just one four-page notice to recipients is between $36 and $60 million, according to the congressmen.

“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, he added, but it helps the environment and reduces costs by cutting back on wasted paper.

Outspoken American Retirement Association chief executive Brian Graff likes what he sees in the bill, taking to social media to proclaim ARA’s support.

“Bipartisan (yes I said, bipartisan) legislation introduced today to allow 401k participant communications to be delivered electronically,” Graff posted on LinkedIn on Tuesday. “The American Retirement Association strongly endorses this important legislation that would significantly reduce plan costs helping both plan sponsors and participants. We will be working hard in 2018 to try and get this issue finally addressed!”

“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,” Congressman Roe noted. “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. I am proud to partner with Reps. Polis, Kelly and Kind to introduce this important piece of legislation.”

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