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Washington State Governor Signs AARP-Backed Retirement Savings Bill

Retirement Coin Jar
Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images

En español |We applaud Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee for signing legislation to make it easier for workers to save for retirement out of their paychecks.

The AARP-backed law will create a state-facilitated automatic IRA program known as Washington Saves. The law is expected to benefit roughly 1.2 million Washingtonians who currently don’t have access to a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), through their employer.

“An automatic savings program will help them grow the savings they need to take control of their future,” said Cathy MacCaul, AARP Washington advocacy director. Washington state lawmakers passed the bill on March 7.

AARP Washington has fought for years to bring an auto IRA program to the Evergreen State, so more workers can save for retirement through automatic payroll deductions. AARP Research data shows people are much more likely to save if they can do so at work, especially if the saving is automatic. Nearly three-quarters of Washington small-business owners support such a plan.

Washington Saves would be similar to programs enacted in 15 other states, including California, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia and Oregon, which have their programs up and running.

Under Washington’s legislation, employers must offer their employees access to a state-facilitated IRA if they don’t already sponsor a retirement savings plan. Employees would be enrolled automatically unless they opted out, and the IRA would follow them if they moved to a new job. The program is slated to launch in 2027. Washington will continue to offer its small-business retirement marketplace to help small businesses and the self-employed shop for a savings plan.

AARP has been active around the country pushing for state laws to improve retirement savings options for workers. Last year, Missouri, Minnesota, Vermont and Nevada passed AARP-backed workplace savings programs. We also support federal legislation that would make it easier for workers to save through their jobs.

Read more about saving for retirement, and keep up with our advocacy work in Washington state.

Natalie Missakian covers federal and state policy and writes AARP’s Fighting for You Every Day blog. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register and daily newspapers in Ohio. She has also written for the AARP Bulletin, the Hartford Business Journal and other publications.

Also of Interest:

7 Steps to Start Saving for Retirement After 50
Take the Retirement Readiness Quiz
AARP Retirement Calculator: Are You Saving Enough?

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