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David C. John, MA, MBA

Senior Strategic Policy Advisor

Areas of Expertise

Retirement savings, pensions, annuities, international pension and retirement savings systems, and PBGC


David C. John is a senior strategic policy advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute, where he works on pension and retirement savings issues. He also serves as a deputy director of the Retirement Security Project (RSP) at the Brookings Institution. RSP focuses on improving retirement savings in the United States, especially among moderate- and low income workers.

Before joining AARP, David was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He also has extensive public policy experience working for a money center bank, a law firm, a credit union trade association, and four members of the House of Representatives.

David has written and spoken extensively about the importance of reforming the nation’s retirement programs. He is coauthor with J. Mark Iwry of the Automatic IRA, a small business retirement savings program for firms that do not sponsor any other form of retirement savings or pension plan. In addition, David is one of four coeditors of the 2009 book Automatic: Changing the Way America Saves (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press). He has been published and quoted extensively in the press and has appeared on a number of major television channels and national and syndicated radio shows.

David is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. He holds an ABJ in journalism, an MA in economics, and an MBA in finance—all from the University of Georgia.

In His Words

“Many American households do not save for retirement. Those that do save often contribute too little, invest poorly, or withdraw funds early. These patterns leave households, particularly low- and middle-income households, vulnerable to insufficient savings to finance adequate living standards during old age and retirement.” (W. Gale, D. John, and S. Smith, “New Ways to Promote Retirement Saving”)

Selected Publications

Gale, W., John, D., and Smith, S., “New Ways to Promote Retirement Saving,” (Washington, DC, AARP Public Policy Institute, November 2012).

John, D. and Levine, R., “National Retirement Savings Systems in Australia, Chile, New Zealand and the United Kingdom: Lessons for the United States,” (Washington, DC, Brookings Institution, July 2009).

Iwry, M. and John, D., “Pursuing Universal Retirement Security Through Automatic IRAs,” (Washington, DC, Brookings Institution, July 2009).

See all blog posts by David John






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