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Small Businesses Support Hawai`i Retirement Savings Program

An AARP small business survey found that nearly three quarters of Hawai‘i small business decision-makers and owners think more should be done to encourage workers to save for retirement, and four in five support the creation of a state-facilitated retirement savings program.

The survey found that even though small businesses want to offer payroll savings programs to workers, two out of five do not offer employees a retirement savings program. More than seven in ten (72%) of these business owners say retirement savings plans are too costly, and two in five (40%) say they are concerned about how complicated they are to operate. Nearly a third (32%) of these small business owners say retirement savings plans would be too time-consuming to operate.

“For many small businesses like ours, a mom-pop take-out plate lunch shop, it’s hard for us to offer any retirement savings for our employees. The program proposed for Hawai`i makes sense for the employer and the employee,” said Eric Wong, co-owner of Loco Moco Ewa Beach and Wiki Wiki Drive Inn.

Senate Bill 3289 would act on the recommendations of the Hawai‘i Retirement Savings Task Force and take the first steps toward creating a state-facilitated automatic IRA savings program. The bills would authorize a board to oversee and implement the program and appropriate funds to start the program. The workplace savings program would be a private-public partnership similar to state college 529 savings programs. The state would start the program and help market it, but private financial services companies would hold and invest the money contributed. All businesses have to do is sign up, pass information from the program to employees, and add a line-item deduction to employees’ paychecks – with zero employer fees, no employer match, and no fiduciary responsibility. 

When asked how likely they would be to participate in a state-facilitated retirement savings program, more than four in five (85 percent) said they would be likely to offer it to employees if it was available to them.

Go to to send an email to your state Representative and tell them to pass Senate Bill 3289.

2021 Hawaii WS SBO Summary Report_FINAL.pdf

2021 Hawaii WS SBO Summary Report_FINAL by AARP Hawaii on Scribd

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