Senate Republicans blast consumer panel's glitchy retirement calculator



By Sylvan Lane - 01/05/16 12:02 PM EST 

Two top Senate Republicans are asking a consumer protection agency why an online retirement planning tool offers incorrect guidance to users.  

Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairmen of the Senate Budget and Banking committees, asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) why its retirement calculator doesn't square with one offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) online. The senators cite inconsistencies between the two tools, both meant to aid users with retirement planning.  

"If the CFPB is to fulfill its own stated mission of 'empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives,' then it must provide clear and accurate information for Americans making important financial decisions," wrote Enzi and Shelby in a Dec. 15 letter.  Enzi and Shelby said the CFPB calculator overestimates early retirement benefits, underestimates benefits for 70-year-old retirees and offers incorrect information about payment timing. 

They've asked the CFPB to explain why it created its calculator when the SSA already had one, why the calculations aren't the same, how much money it spent and what the panel will do to fix the tool.  A CFPB spokesman said the panel reviewed the letter and is preparing a response ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline requested by Enzi and Shelby.  

The CFPB launched the calculator in November. Republicans have long criticized the panel, established after the 2008 recession, for pursuing overzealous financial regulation.