A Home Run

Oct 5, 2022

If Congress passes the legislation known as SECURE 2.0, it will strengthen the financial security of many lower-income Americans including military spouses, student loan borrowers, part-time workers, small business employees, and professional baseball players.

Yes, that’s right – professional baseball players.

I’m not talking about the big stars like slugger Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, whose regular season ends today. Major League Baseball players may work part time, but with an average salary of $4.4 million, they’ll never be confused with lower-income workers.

But minor leaguers are another story. Thousands play professional baseball in mostly smaller towns across the country, often for poverty wages. Indeed, ESPN reported that the majority of the more than 5,000 players in the minor leagues make between $4,800 and $14,700 annually.

Players with those salaries would land right in the sweet spot for the Savers Credit, which gives eligible Americans a tax break when they make contributions to their retirement accounts. Currently, taxpayers with adjusted gross income up to $34,000 (single filers) to $68,000 (married, filing jointly) may be eligible for a tax credit of 10%, 20% or up to 50% of the amount of their retirement plan contribution.

The U.S. House passed a version of SECURE 2.0 that would amend the Savers Credit by setting the percentage of the credit at 50% and making the credit available to taxpayers with higher levels of adjusted gross income. The U.S. Senate is considering different plans to change and expand the credit.

None of these legislative proposals would affect any of the superstars playing under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium this postseason. But an upgrade to the Savers Credit could impact many players who toil in relative anonymity in places like Wappingers Falls, New York, hoping to get their shot at big-league glory.

The career path for a professional athlete is notoriously unpredictable. The competition is fierce and the threat of debilitating injury is ever present. Consequently, there’s no way to foresee how many of today’s low-paid minor leaguers will ever get called up to The Show.

But one thing is crystal clear: Congress can hit a home run for these players – and for all lower-income Americans taking the field at work each day – by passing final SECURE 2.0 legislation.

Susan K. Neely

Susan K. Neely is the President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation’s leading trade association determined to help families live better lives by achieving financial security and certainty. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 94 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.