Brighter Days Ahead

Mar 19, 2021

I am so ready for winter to be over. And the past 12 months for that matter.

The impact of the coronavirus has been wrenching – physically, emotionally and financially. About half the working adults in the U.S. said the coronavirus pandemic’s impact will make it harder for them to achieve long-term financial goals. Women and minorities have been especially hard hit. Far more Black and Latino families are saving less money than white families. And the percent of adult women either working or looking for work hit a 33-year low in January 2021 at 57%.  

Fortunately, we seem to finally be turning the corner.

Thanks to the vaccine, we are starting to see the first signs of normalcy. As more people are vaccinated, safety restrictions will be eased and the economy will pick up steam. That will help more people get back to work and enable them to prepare for their long-term financial security.

The pandemic and the overdue focus on social justice and racial equity has intensified the importance of helping all Americans achieve financial security. The life insurance industry is leading the way. We helped win passage of the SECURE Act, the first significant retirement legislation passed in a decade, which helped more people gain access to retirement plans. This year, there’s momentum for new bipartisan legislation aimed at closing the retirement savings gap.

At the same time, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and states across the nation have taken important actions to enhance best interest consumer protections while ensuring that lower- and middle-income savers have continued access to crucial retirement income options.

The life insurance industry is committed to providing access to financial security for all Americans, regardless of where and how they work, their economic status, race, gender, or stage of life. Through our Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity Initiative, we are engaging and offering concrete steps to achieve greater economic empowerment of financially underserved communities across the country. 

These challenges existed before COVID-19. And they won’t be solved overnight. But moving forward, we will work to protect consumers while ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to achieve financial security.

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 93 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.