”Great news from Illinois: A new law will help 2.5 million workers retire with confidence. Signed by former Gov. Quinn this year, the Illinois Secure Choice Program gives millions of state residents a way to save for their future at work — a tool that increases savings rates by 15 times. Upon signing the bill, Gov. Quinn shared, “This is a special ... opportunity, for all of us to go forward at helping people save for retirement.
Secure Choice is a win-win-win and helps more than just those who can now save at work. It benefits the state by building private retirement savings so individuals are less dependent on government programs and gives small businesses a competitive edge. In the words of small-business owner Carolyn Hicks, “The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program will allow my Small Company to provide a value added service to our employees...”
While this is all good news, our work isn’t over just because the bill was signed into law. AARP will be working with the Illinois treasurer’s office over the next two years to help implement the Secure Choice Savings Program.
Work and Save across the states
The good news doesn’t stop in Illinois. As recently covered in USA Today, momentum is building across the states for a similar workplace retirement savings plan called Work and Save. Here are the highlights:
- It’s easy. No need to feel overwhelmed about how to save for your future; employee contributions would be deducted automatically from each paycheck.
- You get to choose if you want to contribute to an account, and the plan would offer an array of investment options.
- Your account can follow you throughout your career — even if you switch jobs, you can continue to save.
Ric Edelman, CEO of Edelman Financial Services, put it simply when he said, Work and Save “makes a lot of sense.”
Nearly a dozen states are already working hard to build a more secure financial future for their workers and give a competitive boost to small businesses:
Connecticut: Last year the state legislature created the CT Retirement Security Board, which AARP is a part of. This year the board is tasked with developing a workplace savings plan for the state.
Minnesota: In 2014 the state legislature ordered a feasibility study to look into creating a workplace savings plan like Work and Save. The report is due back this year, and AARP Minnesota will continue fighting for a plan to help state residents plan for their future.
North Dakota: A bill being considered in the North Dakota House of Representatives would create a workplace savings plan for more than 101,000 North Dakotans.
Oregon: Last year Oregon created a legislative task force to study a Work and Save and this year hopes to put a plan into place.
Utah: A recent Utah study shows that 18 percent of retirees in the next 15 years will retire with more debt than savings. A Work and Save plan would help Utahans save for their financial future so they can retire with confidence.
West Virginia: AARP West Virginia is mobilizing its Capitol Advocacy Team of volunteers to fight for a Work and Save plan and benefit the 287,000 private-sector workers in West Virginia who do not have access to a workplace savings plan.
Follow me on Twitter @RoamTheDomes for more news on retirement security. And to stay up to date on our AARP advocacy in the states, sign up for the AARP Advocates e-newsletter or visit your state Web page.
Elaine Ryan is the vice president of State Advocacy and Strategy Integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.
Follow Elaine on Twitter: @RoamTheDomes.