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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 20, 1997


I am pleased to have signed into law H.R. 1377, the "Savings Are Vital to Everyone's Retirement Act of 1997," (SAVER Act). This Act will address the important issue of retirement savings through a public-private sector partnership. It is an important step, taken in a bipartisan manner, to increase awareness of the need for pension and individual savings so American workers may enjoy a secure and comfortable retirement. I want to thank all the members of both parties who worked with us to produce strong bipartisan legislation.

Under the SAVER Act, I will convene the first national summit on retirement income savings in 1998 to foster increased awareness of the importance of saving for retirement. Currently, only two-thirds of workers with the opportunity to participate in a 401(k) plan do so. Although this represents an increase from less than 40 percent in 1983, two-thirds is simply not good enough. We have to do better, particularly because more and more Americans are relying on these types of plans for retirement savings. Subsequent summits on savings will take place in 2001 and 2005.

My Administration will work to make sure that the summits help educate employers about the types of plans that are available, including traditional defined benefit pension plans, as well as a relatively new defined contribution plan that is especially designed for small businesses. The summits will also identify problems workers have setting aside money for retirement, and that employers have in assisting their workers to do so. Recommendations will be produced by the summits as to what the private and public sectors can do to promote pension and individual savings. I am particularly concerned about the savings of women, minority, and low- and moderate-income workers, for whom putting away money for retirement is often particularly difficult.

The SAVER Act calls for the public and private sectors to work together in planning and conducting the national summits on retirement income savings, which I will co-host with the congressional leadership of both parties. The Act also affirms the ongoing efforts of my Administration to promote retirement savings through public outreach by directing the Secretary of Labor to maintain and expand the Department's program of retirement savings education.


       November 20, 1997.

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