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David John: Improving the Retirement System

The retirement expert and author discusses expanding retirement-savings opportunities for low- and middle-income workers, the benefits of employer-sponsored emergency funds, and the challenges of decumulation.

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Our guest on the podcast today is David John. David is a senior strategic policy advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute, where he works on pension and retirement savings issues. He also serves as deputy director of the Retirement Security Project at the Brookings Institution. RSP focuses on improving retirement savings in the United States, especially among moderate and low-income workers. Before joining AARP, David was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He also has extensive public policy experience working for a money center bank, a law firm, a credit union trade association, and four members of the House of Representatives. David has written and spoken extensively about the importance of reforming the nation's retirement programs. He is co-author with J. Mark Iwry of the Automatic IRA, a small business retirement savings program for firms that do not sponsor any other form of retirement savings or pension plan. In addition, David is one of four co-editors of the 2009 book Automatic: Changing the Way America Saves. David holds an ABJ in journalism, an M.A. in economics, and an MBA in finance—all from the University of Georgia.

Background

Bio

Automatic: Changing the Way America Saves, by William G. Gale, J. Mark Iwry, David C. John, and Lina Walker

Retirement Landscape

How to Make Retirement Saving Easier for Millions of Americans,” by Renu Zaretsky, taxpolicycenter.org, Oct. 6, 2021.

Small Retirement Accounts: Issues and Options,” by David C. John, J. Mark Iwry, Christopher Pulliam, and William G. Gale, brookings.edu.com, September 2021.

Cashing Out: The Systemic Impact of Withdrawing Savings Before Retirement,” Savings Preservation Working Group, tsretirement.com, Oct. 29, 2019.

How Auto IRAs Could Soon Improve Retirement for Millions of Americans,” by David C. John and J. Mark Iwry, brookings.edu.com, Oct. 20, 2021.

The Current State of U.S. Workplace Retirement Plan Coverage,” by John Sabelhaus, repository.upenn.edu, March 2022.

How Can the Retirement System Help More People Afford Retirement?” by William G. Gale, David C. John, and J. Mark Iwry, brookings.edu, Aug. 3, 2021.

Nontraditional Workers Face Multiple Barriers to Saving for Retirement,” by Alison Shelton and John Scott, pewtrusts.org, Nov. 9, 2021.

How to Take Portfolio Withdrawals in a Market Downturn,” by Adam Shell, aarp.org, March 25, 2022.

State Auto-IRAs Continue to Complement Private Market for Retirement Plans,” by Theron Guzoto, Mark Hines, and Alison Shelton, pewtrusts.org, July 25, 2022.

The Automatic IRA at 15: Helping Americans Build Retirement Security,” by J. Mark Iwry and David C. John, brookings.edu, Feb. 12, 2021.

Emergency Savings

Brigitte Madrian: ‘Inertia Can Actually Be a Helpful Thing,’” The Long View podcast, Morningstar.com, April 22, 2020.

Building Emergency Savings Through Employer-Sponsored Rainy-Day Savings Accounts,” by John Beshears, James J. Choi, Mark Iwry, David C. John, David Laibson, and Brigitte C. Madrian, hbs.edu, 2020.

Saving at Work for a Rainy Day: Results From a National Survey of Employees,” aarp.org, Dec. 4, 2018.

Retirement Decumulation

When Income Is the Outcome: Reducing Regulatory Obstacles to Annuities in 401(k) Plans,” by J. Mark Iwry, William Gale, David John, and Victoria Johnson, brookings.edu, July 2019.

The SECURE Act: A Good Start but Far More Is Needed,” by J. Mark Iwry, David C. John, and William G. Gale, brookings.edu, Jan. 8, 2020.