Workplace retirement savings program debuts in Massachusetts


By Mike Festa, State Director, AARP Massachusetts

Today, a secure retirement may be out of reach for millions of Americans, especially those who work for small businesses. Fifty-seven million Americans have no access to a retirement savings plan through their employers – that’s over 50 percent of the 18- to 64-year-old population. When employers give workers the option of payroll deduction for retirement savings, AARP research indicates that their participation rate is a whopping 1,300 percent higher than that of those without the option.

While many think of social security as their main source of retirement income, the average monthly Social Security benefit nationally is only about $1,200 per month. While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle, it is not enough to ensure people can live independently as they get older. In Massachusetts, there are currently 1.2 million Social Security beneficiaries, and nearly half report relying on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income. Another 22 percent say they rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their income.

Opportunities for saving for retirement just got a little easier for some Massachusetts employees, as the commonwealth has recently taken steps to implement the Chapter 60 of the Acts of 2012, An Act to Provide Retirement Options for Nonprofit Organizations. The Massachusetts Defined Contribution CORE Plan (“CORE Plan”) is a tax deferred and post-tax 401(k) savings plan developed for employees of eligible small nonprofit organizations that choose to adopt it. The mission of the CORE Plan is to help Massachusetts nonprofit employees save and invest for a financially secure retirement.

Massachusetts nonprofit organizations with 20 employees or less may be eligible to adopt the CORE Plan. The Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General, as sponsor of the CORE Plan, assumes most administrative and investment responsibilities, reducing the burden on participating nonprofit employers.

The CORE Plan debuted in September 2017 and aims to help more workers save through automatic payroll deductions, helping them take charge of their financial futures and live independently as they age. Payroll deductions for a managed retirement account are a painless, efficient way for employees to put money aside.

Here are the basics:

  • It is a multi-employer 401K plan;
  • It is for employees of nonprofit organizations with 20 employees or fewer;
  • Employees of participating non-profit employers will be automatically enrolled, with an opt-out feature.

If you would like more information about the Massachusetts CORE Plan, visit

For more information and resources on saving and investing for retirement, visit