To better understand the challenges of the 401(k) system and its coverage and to assess possible strategies to improve it, this report presents a three-part analysis. The first part focuses on 401(k)s and documents the extent and nature of portability, the flow of money to IRAs, and leakage from both systems. It summarizes resulting problems and potential solutions. But beyond the existing 401(k) system, a coverage gap remains. So, the second part of the analysis identifies the nature of the coverage gap among wage and salary employees and assesses proposed solutions. But these solutions would not affect the 16 percent of workers in non-standard employment. Therefore, the third part of the analysis looks at options for covering these workers.
The objective of this report is to assess and present a wide – though not comprehensive – range of available options by examining and summarizing existing proposals and, where relevant, examples from other countries.