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AIG urges employees to contact their lawmakers on 401(k) proposal

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American International Group Inc., among the top stakeholders in the 401(k) marketplace in the United States, urged its employees to oppose a congressional plan to severely limit 401(k) contributions, according to a screenshot obtained by the online news outlet Quartz Media L.L.C.

AIG sent all U.S. employees an email urging them to contact their local representatives to oppose the plan that would cap contributions to tax-deferred retirement accounts — to as little as $2,400, from the current $18,000 for people under 50 — and push the rest into Roth accounts, where taxes are paid at the time a deposit is made, according to Quartz, which first broke the story Monday.

“We not only help people protect their loved ones, we also enable people to live the life they envision,” the email, provided to Business Insurance by an AIG spokesman, reads. “So we are troubled by a proposal the U.S. Congress is considering as part of a comprehensive tax overhaul that would limit pretax retirement contributions in favor of post-tax, or ‘Roth,’ contributions.”

“This means that our customers and you, our employees, would start paying income taxes upfront on retirement plan contributions, including those in 401(k) and 403(b) plans. It would immediately reduce take-home pay, and could lead to a drop in contribution levels at a time when people are living longer and finding it harder to secure reliable sources of retirement income,” the email states.

The AIG spokesman provided this statement to Business Insurance: “We are concerned about changing the way millions of Americans save for retirement, including our customers and employees. We strongly believe that limiting pretax retirement contributions in favor of post-tax or ‘Roth’ contributions could be dangerous for the long-term outlook of the U.S. retirement savings system.”