States Step Up for Retirement Security

Piggy_BankAre you saving (enough) for retirement? The numbers paint a worrisome picture – for Americans, our families and the nation.

  • Three-quarters of Americans age 55-64 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts as of 2010.
  • And, more than 70 million American workers do not have any type of employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Clearly, we need some help to get on the road to retirement savings – and more effective ways to save money for our future. This is where the states come in – with some innovative solutions to help their residents start saving, or save more.

Take Oregon. This month, the state legislature voted to set up a task force that is charged with studying ways to help workers save for retirement. Gov. John Kitzhaber has indicated his support of the bill, and once he signs it, the Oregon Retirement Savings Task Force will get working.

Why? Because Oregonians want and need plans that will help them save for retirement. Residents surveyed this year by AARP Oregon found:

  • One in six Oregonians age 45-64 has less than $5,000 in savings.
  •  More than half of Oregonians 45+ do not have retirement savings through a previous employer, and even fewer now work for an employer who currently offers a defined benefits plan, like a pension.
  • More than a third of working Oregonians also aren’t offered a defined contributions plan, like a 401(k). Two in three of these workers would join one if it was available.
  • Even more – seven in 10 – say it is important for legislators to study Oregonians’ retirement readiness.

Other states are also considering innovations to help their citizens save for retirement.

  • In California, Gov. Jerry Brown last year signed legislation that sets up a study commission to explore the creation of a state-run retirement savings plan. AARP has called the California plan a “win-win” proposition that would help workers save for retirement with little burden on employers and no risk to taxpayers.
  • In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick last year signed an act to provide for a retirement savings program for nonprofit employees.
  • In Washington, where 56% of survey respondents told AARP that they are “very” or “somewhat” anxious about having enough money for retirement, legislators are working to reinstitute a study commission, previously approved.

Still, more needs to be done. AARP will continue to work across the states – and at the national level – to help Americans prepare for their financial future, supporting innovative approaches that help ensure retirement security.

Are you saving (enough) for retirement? Check out AARP’s Retirement Calculator to find out!

To stay up-to-date on this and other important issues, sign up for the AARP Advocate newsletter or visit your state web page.