Lawmakers are considering these changes to your 401(k) plan

Lawmakers are working on the biggest changes to U.S. retirement savings in more than a decade, exploring several proposals that could make it easier for small companies to offer 401(k) plans and for workers to guarantee themselves an annual income after they retire.

The efforts start with a bipartisan Senate bill and House Republicans’ plan to make retirement and savings a crucial part of their push for tax legislation this summer and fall. It isn’t clear which, if any, measures are likely to survive the legislative process, but the broad interest in encouraging savings gives lawmakers a chance at passing something this year.

Among the proposals Congress may consider are a new type of savings account that is more open-ended than current vehicles, ways to encourage savings that can be tapped in an emergency and the repeal of a provision that prevents people over age 70 ½ from contributing to traditional Individual Retirement Accounts.

Within 401(k)s, proposals include requiring plans to disclose to employees the monthly annuity income their savings would support. Other measures would encourage small employers to use automatic enrollment and make it easier for employers to automatically raise employees’ savings rates beyond 10% of income—a cap that now applies to some plans.

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