South Carolinian’s have always had a fiercely independent spirit. However, we can’t be truly independent without the financial resources to meet the ever-rising costs of living. In today’s reality, a secure and independent future is out of reach for far too many South Carolinian’s.
South Carolina is the second worst in the nation when it comes to retirement savings. That’s no surprise when you consider that 70% of our workforce – around 1.25 million hard-working South Carolinian’s – do not have access to a retirement savings plan at work. Of course, we all start saving the day we start working through our Social Security, right?
Social Security is a vital piece of the retirement puzzle, but it is not enough to depend on, The average Social Security benefits for a 65+ South Carolina family is under $20,000 a year, while these families on average spend over $21,000 a year on food, utilities, and healthcare alone. At this rate, half of all households will be unable to afford their basic needs in retirement, and many may need to rely on public assistance later in life.
So, how can we help hard-working South Carolinian’s save for the future? The answer is simple – the Palmetto Work and Save – HB4258.
Palmetto Work and Save make it easier for businesses to offer employees a way to save out of their regular paycheck, by letting all private-sector employers and self-employed individuals band together in a single Multiple Employer Plan 401(k) style retirement savings plan. It would be easy for employers to use and would make it more affordable for small and mid-size businesses to offer a plan.
Palmetto Work and Save is an easy, stress-free way for workers to grow their retirement savings so they can take control of their future. Accounts are voluntary. Eligible employees would be automatically enrolled, but could choose to opt out at any time. Employees would also choose how much they want to put away and what they want to invest in.
Giving employees a simple way to save for retirement will also mean fewer South Carolinian’s will need to rely on public assistance later in life, which will save taxpayer dollars. In fact, research shows that South Carolina could save up to $37.5 million on public assistance over the next ten years.
Palmetto Work and Save is an all-around win, and the sort of innovative solution we need to help South Carolinian’s take control of their futures. AARP is calling on state lawmakers to pass it now to help all workers grow their retirement savings.