Insurance and financial advisers often view life as a series of financial challenges. We spend our careers offering products and services to help our clients plan for and confront these challenges. We help them provide security for themselves and their families and achieve their financial goals.
My experience has taught me that the financial challenges of retirement can seem especially daunting for many Mainers. Saving sufficiently, starting early and having a solid plan are vital. It is also important to have laws and government policies that encourage workers to prepare for retirement and protect those hard-earned savings in their golden years.
We are fortunate in Maine to have Sen. Susan Collins looking out for the well-being of our retirees and future retirees. She has proven a consistent and persistent advocate for Maineās seniors.
The Retirement Security Act of 2019 is a bill introduced by Collins and her colleague Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire that has strong support among both Republicans and Democrats. It would make it easier for companies to offer their employees retirement plans by allowing small employers, which make up more than 99 percent of Maineās businesses, to band together and share a retirement planās costs and administrative duties. The legislation would also encourage workers to save more.
Passage of the Retirement Security Act would help us reduce the estimated $7.7 trillion gap between what Americans need to maintain their standard of living in retirement and the amount they have actually saved.
Collins was also a driving force behind a law that will help reduce the $2.9 billion that seniors lose to fraud and exploitation each year. The Senior Safe Act, sponsored by Collins and Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, was signed into law last year. It encourages financial advisers and other professionals to work with financial institutions to identify fraud targeting seniors so that it can be reported to law enforcement.
This bipartisan legislation had the endorsement of numerous associations and public interest groups, including AARP, the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
As a professional adviser, I have a clear understanding of my clientsā finances. When it comes to preventing fraud, my colleagues and I are on the front lines. Advisers are often the first to recognize suspicious transactions, or our clients may approach us about potentially fraudulent deals. Previously, privacy laws and the threat of liability made it very difficult for advisers and financial institutions to report suspected fraud to the authorities.
The Senior Safe Act is based on a state law that has proven effective in Maine. Now, because of Collinsā efforts, my colleagues around the country can receive training and actively work to protect their senior clients from financial losses that can be devastating or even life-threatening.
The work Collins has done makes my job as a financial adviser ā the job of protecting my clients and ensuring that they prosper ā much easier. I learned very early in my career that laws and regulations, whether they are passed at the federal or state level, have a major impact on my ability to serve clients and ultimately on my clientsā financial well-being.
It is gratifying to know that legislation our senator has written or championed is improving the lives of countless Mainers who are retired or who hope to one day retire.
Matthew Tassey is a principal at E.A. Scribner Insurance Agency in Portland. He is a member and past trustee of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.