An update on the AARP Massachusetts Secure Choice bill

0
54

By Mike Festa, State Director, AARP Massachusetts

Mike Festa

AARP Massachusetts is hard at work fighting for our 800,000 members in the Bay State. Here is an update on our efforts to help workers to save for retirement.

An Act to Establish the Massachusetts Secure Choice Retirement Program and Expand the Massachusetts CORE Plan to All Employers 

Sponsored by State Representative Tram Nguyen (D-18th Essex) and State Senator Pat Jehlen (D-2nd Middlesex)

Nearly half of workers in Massachusetts have no access to a retirement savings plan through their employers. A secure retirement is out of reach for over one million Massachusetts residents, especially those who work for themselves or small businesses. While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle, it is not enough to depend upon.  Many future retirees will not be able to handle the rising cost of basic needs and health care.

An Act to Establish the Massachusetts Secure Choice Retirement Program and Expand the Massachusetts CORE Plan to All Employers, (H. 1075/S. 602) would expand the existing “Connecting Organizations to Retirement” (CORE) plan so that all employers could participate.  The Act would also create the Massachusetts Secure Choice Retirement Program. Secure Choice makes it easier for businesses to offer employees a way to save for retirement out of their regular paycheck, and it is an easy, stress-free way to grow retirement savings.

Today, a secure retirement is out of reach for millions of Americans, especially those who work for themselves or small businesses. Half of all households are at risk of not even being able to handle everyday expenses in retirement.  Nearly half (55 million) of American workers have no access to a retirement savings plan through their employers. The average Social Security benefits for a 65+ family is only about $18,000 a year, while older American families on average spend $20,000 a year on food, utilities, and health care alone.

AARP supported the original legislation creating the CORE Program.  Expanding the CORE Program would make it easier for businesses to offer employees a way to save out of their regular paychecks, helping them take charge of their financial futures and live independently as they age.

AARP believes the expanded Secure Choice program is an important step to helping Massachusetts workers build a stronger financial future for their retirement.  Here are the key components:

  • It is the employees own money that they can take with them from job to job, and rely on in later years for a more secure future.
  • Accounts are voluntary. It’s up to employees to decide if they want to participate, and how much they want to save.
  • Contributions are made with an automatic deduction from their paychecks.
  • Giving employees a simple way to save for retirement will mean fewer Americans will need to rely on public assistance later in life, which will save taxpayer dollars.
  • Secure choice would be easy for employers to set up, and there would be no ongoing costs or risk to the employers or the state.

The bill is being considered by the Joint Committee on Financial Services. We could use your help in advancing this legislation.  If you would like to advocate for the passage of these bills, please call your elected representatives at the Statehouse at 617-722-2000 and ask them for their support. If you would like to become a volunteer advocate for AARP Massachusetts, please contact Austin Hodge at [email protected].