A high-powered Washington D.C. panel is set to urge retirees to take out home equity loans as part of a comprehensive plan to boost Americans’ retirement security.
With 50 percent of homeowners 62 and over having half or more of their assets in their house, home equity loans are an underutilized way to boost the living standard of many people in retirement, said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
It’s estimated that Americans have $12 trillion of wealth locked up in their homes.
The center’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings will recommend more favorable tax treatment of home equity in a report expected to be released June 9, Hoagland said.
The commission, headed by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-S.D., and James Lockhart, former executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, was formed in 2014 and originally aimed to release its report in early 2015.
In speaking to a seminar sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington D.C., Hoagland said it is almost impossible any of the proposals will become law next year. He predicted measures to increase access for workers to workplace retirement plans stand a good chance of becoming law when the next Congress and the next president take office in 2017.
Hoagland said ideas to make it easier for workers to carry retirement plans from job to job have a good chance of passage, as do proposals to make it less expensive for small businesses to offer 401(k)s through joint plans with other companies.
The commission will also recommend expanding the availability of myRA starter retirement savings plans to more workers and to raise the cap from the current $15,000, he added.
The commission will also urge changes to Social Security, Hoagland said.
“The facts are indisputable. The Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2034 and there will be 27 percent benefit cuts across the board if the fund is not restored,” he said.