Consumers Union (CU),the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, supports and advocates for initiatives to ensure that all Americans have the secure retirement they deserve. Learn more—and get involved—at ConsumersUnion.org.

Defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB has helped retirees by reining in predatory reverse-mortgage lenders, among other initiatives. Since opening in 2011, it has returned some $11.7 billion to consumers wronged by the financial industry. The industry and some in Congress want to weaken the CFPB by advocating for more oversight of its activities. CU will fight to maintain the CFPB in its current, potent form.

Improve education on reverse mortgages. These loans can be a lifeline for some, but the risk that borrowers will overextend makes them a last resort, CU maintains. To ensure consumers understand those risks, California recently improved its mandated reverse-mortgage education, provided by trained counselors. CU pushed for the change and advocates for similar reforms nationwide.

Help workers save for retirement. Most Americans save for retirement through their workplace, but some 30 million Americans ages 18 to 64 don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan. California’s new Secure Choice program will automatically enroll most workers without a 401(k) in a state-run retirement pool, at minimal cost to employers and taxpayers. Unless they opt out, participants will have payroll deductions invested in low-cost options overseen and managed by fiduciaries. Other states are expected to follow suit. CU supports providing workers with access to such accounts.

Fight financial elder abuse. CU’s End Robocalls campaign urges telecom companies to provide free tools to screen or block unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers and scammers.

Support the fiduciary rule. The Department of Labor’s 2016 rule requiring retirement advisers to act in clients’ best interests is arguably the most important investor protection in decades. CU opposes attempts by the financial services industry and some in Congress to roll back the regulation.


Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the January 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.