Although an important aspect of retirement, Social Security is just the backbone on which defined benefit and defined contribution plans should build upon, said several experts and lawmakers Tuesday.

Today’s new retirement landscape offers tremendous opportunities, but complexities as well, said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. And President Barack Obama’s administration has been honing in on some of those complexities by focusing on several new policies.

Also see: Workers want more active employer role in retirement planning

For example, the Department of Labor’s “Conflict of Interest Rule for Retirement Savings,” is one of the four areas in particular the administration is focusing on regarding retirement savings policy.

In addition, Furman pointed to the White House’s initiatives at expanding access and participation in retirement savings, citing the the MyRA program Obama mentioned in his State of the Union address.

Improving distribution options as well as monitoring current policies round out the administration’s current retirement policy initiatives.

Access to retirement savings was one of the more general conversations among the speakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Kent Conrad, a former Senator from North Dakota and a current commissioner with the Bipartisan Policy Center, noted half of American’s couldn’t get access to $2,000 within 30 days. “We have a problem,” he added.

Access is hardest among employees working at small companies, added Christine Marcks, president of Prudential Retirement, noting the financial institution’s recent push for multiple employer plans.

Also see: Small business partnerships could be retirement’s silver lining for many

In addition, outliving retirement was another concern. “As life spans increase, [current retirement options] become more of a middle-age retirement system,” added Eugene Steurerle, a co-founder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

Defined contribution plans should be looked at with a different perspective, Prudential’s Marcks noted. “It’s not about the account balance; it’s what that balance would provide [in retirement],” she said. 

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