AARP AARP States Arizona Advocacy

We're Scared About Arizona’s Future

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With Halloween just around the corner, ghastly ghost rides and terror flicks are popping up everywhere. While many of us delve into wicked tales and gory scenes to crank up the adrenaline this season, we want to know what's haunting your nightmares?

For us, the answer is easy. Arizona is facing a retirement savings crisis that will leave far too many of our residents struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table in their later years.

Even before the pandemic struck, our nation was grappling with a retirement crisis that researchers estimated to be in the trillions. That deficit will likely increase, with research showing that nearly one in four working-age adults prematurely dipped into their retirement savings or stopped contributing altogether during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Without retirement savings, many Arizonans will have to rely solely on Social Security, and with an average annual benefit of $18,124 it's just not enough. In fact, one out of every two middle-class retirees will be unable to afford their basic needs in retirement - things like medicine, utilities, and rent. 

But it simply doesn't have to be this way. We can help more Arizonans start growing the savings they need for a brighter future by creating a Work and Save program.

The concept behind Work and Save programs is simple. Research shows that people are fifteen times more likely to save if they can do so right out of their paycheck, and they are twenty times more likely to save if enrollment is automatic. Work and Save programs provide a no-cost, easy way for businesses to offer a retirement savings solution if they don't already have a retirement plan for their workers. Employees are in control. They can decide if they want to participate and how much they want to set aside from their paychecks automatically. And, the savings is their money that moves with them wherever life may take them.

Today, roughly 1,279,555 private sector Arizonans workers do not have access to a retirement savings plan at work. And if you work for a small business, you are even less likely to have a plan – 76% of our small business employees don't have access. Each passing second means less time to grow the savings they need for a secure future for these workers.

This nightmare won't just vanish either. If we don't act now to address the retirement crisis, the problem will keep growing, and the cost of inaction will be felt by all Arizonans. It's time we tackle this crisis head-on and create a Work and Save program so that all workers can have a chance to take control of their future.

To learn more about Work & Save programs, please visit: aarp.org/myfuture

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