A common-sense solution to make it easier for Mainers to save
Today, a secure retirement is out of reach for thousands of Mainers, particularly for those who work for themselves or for small businesses. Social Security is, of course, an important piece of the retirement puzzle, but it is just one piece and is usually not enough to depend on to cover costs such as health care, housing and utilities in retirement.
This is why we need a way to make it easier for Maine workers to save so they can take control of their future.
First, let’s consider some of the facts:
· Access to an employer-sponsored retirement program is critical for building financial security later in life. Yet, 46 percent of Maine’s workers ages 18-64 in the private sector – about 235,000 individuals – work for an employer that does not offer a retirement program option. Roughly 82 percent of these employees make $40,000 or less annually.
· About 90 percent of households participating in a workplace retirement program report that payroll deductions make it easier to save. In fact, 62% of employees with access to a retirement program had more than $25,000 in total savings and investments, compared to 6% of us who save without access to a retirement program at work.
· While Social Security is an important part of retirement security, in Maine the average monthly benefit is just $1,300. Social Security was never intended to be the only source of retirement income, but this is the case for 30% of Maine’s retirees.
· “An additional $1,000 in retirement income in Maine would raise average income retirement income by 16% in the first quintile, and 7% for the second quintile. It would create $15.6 million in fiscal savings in 2032.” [i]
Secondly, Maine Voters Age 25+ Support a Retirement Savings Option.
According to our 2019 state survey:
* 67% of Maine voters support a public-private state retirement savings option;
* 86% agree that elected officials should support legislation to make saving easier for Maine workers; and
* 84% would be likely to take advantage of a way to save for retirement at work if their employer offered such a program.
* To review the complete survey summary visit www.aarp.org/SaveME
The bottom line: The average working household in Maine currently has just $2,500 in retirement savings.
What’s the solution? AARP Maine is working with state lawmakers on legislation that would simplify access to retirement savings programs. We are also working to engage small business owners to better understand the perceived barriers to offering retirement savings programs to employees.
The solution is LD 594, sponsored by Senator Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic). This bill that makes it easier for businesses to offer employees a way to save for retirement out of their own regular paycheck. It is an easy, stress-free way to increase retirement savings with limited impacts on businesses. Here’s how it works:
What will LD 594 do for me?
1. LD 594 is for Mainers of all ages. It is never too early, or too late, to start investing in your future!
2. You are in control. The savings is your own money that you can take with you from job to job, and rely on in later years to help you when you need it.
3. Your future, your choice! The savings accounts are voluntary. As an employee, it is up to you to decide if you want to participate and how much you want to put away automatically from your paycheck.
4. LD 594 saves taxpayer dollars. Giving employees a simple way to save for retirement will mean fewer Mainers will need to rely on public assistance later in life, which will save taxpayer dollars.
What is likely to happen next: Our volunteer advocates have attended every committee hearing on LD 594 and have delivered testimony in favor of this important legislation. We continue to urge our lawmakers to make retirement security one of their legislative priorities.
What action should I take?
1. We want to hear from Mainers who are interested in the issue of retirement security.
· Are you worried about having enough savings in retirement?
· Do you currently have access to a retirement savings option through your employer?
Please get in touch! Call 1-866-554-5380 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story today.
2. Sign our petition!
3. AARP Maine would like to recruit new advocates who are willing to take an active role in their own communities to speak up on behalf of Mainers 50+ and their families. AARP Maine will train and work with all new volunteers to make sure they become a successful and engaged member of our team.
Please either email us at email@example.com or call us at 1-866-554-5380 to get involved.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Interested in learning more? Here are some additional fact sheets:
Liquid Savings of Working Households Ages 50-64
Fact Sheet: Maine. Workplace Retirement Plans Will Help Workers Build Economic Security
SCAN Survey Reveals Majority of Seniors Are Not Adequately Prepared to Age in Place
 TROSTEL, PHILIP A., "The Fiscal Implications of Inadequate Retirement Savings in Maine" (2017). Economic Development. 5,19.