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Idahoans Closer to Accessing Retirement Savings Options

House Business Committee Starts Conversation, Prints Retirement Program Bill

retirement and savings
Tucker, Jeannie - JTTucker

Yesterday, the Idaho House Business Committee began to address the growing retirement savings crisis by printing House Bill 180. The retirement program bill is a proposal to create a voluntary state facilitated, auto-Individual Retirement Account (IRA) retirement program for working Idahoans who do not now have access to a payroll deduction retirement plan at their current place of work.

Currently, approximately 375,000 private sector Idaho workers do not have access to a retirement savings plan at work. According to a 2020 AARP survey, more than two-thirds of Idaho small businesses do not offer a retirement savings option. However, seven in ten Idaho small business owners support a privately managed, ready-to-go retirement savings option that would help small businesses offer employees a way to save for retirement.

“The pandemic has shown us the importance of being prepared for an uncertain future. It exposed even more what we already knew. Idahoans are not saving enough for retirement,” said Francoise Cleveland, AARP Idaho director of advocacy. “This bill is a commonsense solution that relies on voluntary participation. It could have broad applications across the workforce allowing working Idahoans to grow the savings they need to take control of their financial future.”

The Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations (OPE) also initiated a report last summer finding workers who don’t save for retirement see decreases in their standard of living and use the safety net more in retirement.

“The Business Committee vote to print this bill is an important first step in starting this overdue conversation,” said Cleveland. “It’s an issue that demands serious consideration.”

More than 40 other states have enacted or are researching solutions to the retirement savings crisis, and 3 states are currently running auto IRA programs with almost $170 million saved to date.

Thus far, AARP has worked in collaboration with AARP’s Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University Center for Retirement Initiatives, National Institute on Retirement Security, Pew Charitable Trusts Retirement Savings Project, National Conference of State Legislature, Council of State Governments, Idaho State Treasurer’s Office, Idaho Department of Labor, and the Idaho Office of Performance Evaluation to address this issue.

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