By Sen. Deb Fischer
Nebraskans work hard, each and every day, to provide for their families. Many live paycheck to paycheck and make sacrifices to own their own home, make car payments, or pay for extracurricular activities for their kids. Whether it’s taxes, investing, or any number of financial responsibilities, managing it all can be complicated and overwhelming. Because of this, many families turn to financial advisors for help with staying on track and managing their hard-earned money.
Recently, the Obama administration introduced a new rule that will make it harder for families to receive sound financial advice. Commonly known as the “fiduciary rule,” this regulation from the Department of Labor would change the definition of a fiduciary and what “investment advice” really means. In short, the rule could make it harder for many individuals to open and maintain IRAs or retirement savings accounts. It could also lead to fewer companies offering 401(k) plans for their employees. Those who continue to use these retirement and investing services could face higher costs and less guidance on how to invest their resources for the best returns.
I have heard from many Nebraskans who are concerned with this rule and what it will do to the retirement savings they worked hard to set aside for their future. I have also received input from Nebraska’s small businesses, insurance providers, and financial professionals. They are all concerned about the potential consequences of this rule. It could enable the federal government to mandate how financial advisors run their businesses and force them to pass down extra costs to consumers.
Anyone can tell you that investing and financial planning are complicated endeavors. Under the right guidance however, these services provide opportunities for low and middle-income families to earn money, develop financial security, and prepare for retirement. Unfortunately, lower-income families are the very people this rule will harm the most.
Complying with regulations requires time and money. Wealthier consumers and larger businesses often have the resources to navigate costly regulations, but many small businesses are already struggling to stay afloat.
Because of these concerns, I joined my colleagues in the Senate this month to pass a joint resolution of disapproval pushing back on this rule. I also cosponsored two bills that offer responsible solutions to the problems this rule was trying to address: the Strengthening Access to Valuable Education and Retirement Support (SAVERS) Act and the Affordable Retirement Advice Protection Act. Both of these bills would protect Americans who are saving for retirement without forcing them into the fixed-fee arrangements that the fiduciary rule would, in many circumstances, mandate.
Across our state, Nebraskans depend on financial guidance to plan their futures and provide for their families. Our government should not be dictating who you can hire and what investments you can make. You have every right to seek out the best financial advice that fits your family’s unique priorities and goals. I will continue the fight to protect your ability to do so, and keep the government away from your pocketbook.