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AARP AARP States Georgia Advocacy

Push Underway to Foster Workplace Savings Options


More than half of private-sector workers in Georgia — about 2.1 million people — don’t have a workplace retirement savings plan. And more than half of respondents in a recent poll are very or somewhat anxious about having enough money for retirement.

AARP Georgia would like to tackle both issues through the creation of a state-facilitated savings program for small businesses. “AARP’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for people as we age, and this is one way to help secure their financial future,” says Alice Bennett, AARP Georgia associate state director of advocacy.

Starting such a program would require action by the Georgia General Assembly, and AARP expects necessary legislation to be introduced in 2024. Bennett says Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) has agreed to sponsor it.

The idea has the support of more than two-thirds of working-age Georgians, with majorities in both political parties backing it, according to a poll AARP released in November of 601 registered voters ages 21 to 64.

As of June 2023, 15 states already offer or have approved automatic workplace retirement programs, according to the Georgetown University Center for Retirement Initiatives. Another four have voluntary programs in place, similar to what is being discussed in Georgia.

AARP data shows nearly 80 percent of employees at Georgia businesses with fewer than 10 employees (74 percent at those with 10 to 24 workers) lack a retirement savings plan at work.

The program would be established by the state and run by a private firm, with state oversight. AARP expects it would be optional for employers and employees. Workers would decide how much they want to contribute, if at all, and could take the account with them if they switched jobs. — Mary Van Beusekom

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