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AARP AARP States Massachusetts

AARP Fighting for Secure Choice; a Proposed Retirement Savings Plan

Saving for Retirement

With so many people not financially prepared for retirement, AARP Massachusetts is working to expand access to retirement programs in the Commonwealth. State President Sandra Harris spoke at a virtual gathering of the Massachusetts Secure Choice Coalition and partners in an effort to increase options Tuesday, April 30.

The discussion centered on The Massachusetts Secure Choice Savings Program Act. This bill would create a state-facilitated automatic savings program that would provide small businesses and employers with free retirement savings options to offer to their employees.

AARP Massachusetts teamed up with the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, The Boston Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts to present Investing In Our Workforce – the Case for Massachusetts Secure Choice -a webinar discussion about the Secure Choice legislation.

43% of Massachusetts private sector employees—roughly 1,220,000 people—work for an employer that does not offer either a traditional pension or a retirement savings plan. Access to an employer-based retirement plan is critical for building financial security later in life.

Nearly 60% of working age households do not own any retirement account assets – meaning no employer-sponsored 401(k), no IRAs, and no pension.

For near retirement households (ages 55-64) that do have retirement accounts, nearly 7 in 10 have less than a year’s income saved for retirement, which is way below what they will need to have a secure future.

This access gap creates undue burden on state finances and limits individual opportunity to save for their financial future.

Legislation introduced earlier this session would establish the Massachusetts Secure Choice Savings Program. The savings plan would create an individual retirement account program—at no cost to employers—that would automatically enroll workers who don’t have access to employer-based retirement benefits such as pension plans and 401(k) plans.

Although individuals without access to a way to save for retirement at work could open up their own individual retirement accounts, this rarely happens. Only five percent of people will go out on their own and open an IRA, and the numbers haven’t changed in decades. Yet, we do know Americans are 15 times more likely to save when they can do so at work.

Any discussion of a secure retirement of course starts with one of the critical pillars – Social Security. What most people don’t realize, though, is that while Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle; it alone is not enough to depend on. It was never actually meant to fully provide for retirement – it was created to ensure that seniors would have a steady and guaranteed source of income when they retired.

Work & Save accounts help Americans save for retirement and reduce reliance on taxpayer-funded programs.

15 states that have passed similar bills: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia.

If you think this is a good idea and would like to join in the fight, let us know. Send us an email to AARP advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. Join us in the fight. AARP advocacy volunteers partner with staff at the state and federal levels to influence important legislative issues. You can sign up to be an E-advocate at

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