- The Washington Times - Friday, August 31, 2018

President Trump has taken action to make it easier for small businesses to offer employees retirement savings plans, potential giving millions of American workers access for the first time to 401(k) and other plans.

Mr. Trump signed an executive order for the Labor and Treasury departments to loosen regulations that make it difficult or prohibitively expensive for small businesses to offer retirement benefits to workers.

Businesses that employ fewer than 500 people, which is roughly half the workforce, often can’t afford to do it.

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“That’s why I’m taking very bold action to lower the cost of retirement plans so they can become an affordable option for businesses of all sizes. That’s a big thing,” Mr. Trump said at a signing ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He timed the order for Friday, to kick off the Labor Day holiday weekend, which honors workers.

“We believe all Americans should be able to retire with the confidence, dignity and economic security that you want,” Mr Trump said.

The administration will seek regulatory changes that make it easier for businesses to join together to join together to offer Association Retirement Plans, also known as Multiple Employer Plans, according to the order.

While about 89 percent of workers at companies with 500 employees or more have access to retirement saving plans, more than half of workers at small businesses don’t have the option, according to the administration.

By lowering regulatory hurdles, the administration hopes to enable small businesses to band together and increase the number of employees who participate in savings plans. That will give the small businesses the same savings enjoyed by larger companies.

The agencies also will review rules on required minimum distributions for retirement plans to see if retirees could keep more money in 401(k)s and IRAs for a longer period of time.

Current rules require workers to begin withdrawing savings when 70 and a half years old.

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