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AARP AARP States Missouri

Build a Stronger Future for Missouri Workers with Small Business Retirement Savings

Butcher in his shop

A secure retirement future is out of reach for thousands of Missourians, with those who work for themselves or small businesses likely impacted the most. The average working-age household only has $2,500 saved for retirement, and near-retirement households only have $14,5001 and Social Security is not enough alone to depend on in retirement.  

Over 90% of Missouri employees of businesses with under 100 employees do not have access to retirement savings at work. These workers are less likely to save for retirement at all and much more likely to only save intermittently, giving them less financial security as they age. Preliminary results from the Pew Charitable Trust indicate that the lack of retirement savings could cost the state more than $10 billion in costs for social services and loss of revenue.

AARP Missouri urges state lawmakers to enact Small Business Retirement Savings through a public-private partnership—overseen by the state and run by a private-sector financial services provider— to help Missourians save for the future.

Show Me My Retirement Savings

House Bill 155, sponsored by Representative Michael O’Donnell (R-St. Louis County) would create a 401k program for small businesses.

Data shows that people are fifteen times more likely to save if they can do so through their work using payroll deduction, yet:

  • Over 40% (972,000) of Missouri workers have no access to a retirement savings plan through their employers2 ; and
  • 67% of Missouri workers employed by businesses with fewer than 100 employees do not have a pension or retirement plan3.

The Missouri proposal would be a voluntary public-private partnership only available to businesses with under 50 employees. It’s up to each small business to decide if they want to participate and whether they will match a portion of their employees’ contributions.

  • Contributions are made with an automatic deduction from workers’ paychecks
  • Each chooses whether and how much to contribute
  • Employees would own their account and can take it from job to job.

In addition to the benefit to Missouri workers, Show Me My Retirement Savings would be an important employee recruiting and retention tool for small businesses, at no cost to them.

Next Steps

Several House Pensions Committee members voiced their support for House Bill 155 during the hearing the week of February 16th, and last year, the House of Representatives passed the program unanimously.  The bill is expected to be voted out of the House Pensions Committee any day, but the language of the bill is also likely to be amended onto other financial services and retirement legislation in the coming weeks.

Passing Show Me My Retirement Savings will be a win for Missouri workers, small businesses and the state, helping Missourians save for retirement, small businesses stay competitive and reducing reliance on taxpayer-funded programs.


  1. National Institute on Retirement Security, “The Continuing Retirement Savings Crisis”, March 2015. Available online.
  2. David John and Gary Keonig, “Workplace Retirement Plans Will Help Workers Build Economic Security,” AARP Public Policy Institute, 2015.
  3. David John and Gary Keonig, “Workplace Retirement Plans Will Help Workers Build Economic Security,” AARP Public Policy Institute, 2015.
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