Win-Win Savings Program Begins in 2019

By Karen Ali
Alexander Williams, owner of Blue Earth Compost Inc., in Hartford, loves the idea of legislation aimed at helping small businesses like his promote savings plans for retirement.

“We’re always growing the business. So having help in how to implement this would be a step in the right direction,” said Williams, 27, whose company has three employees, with plans to hire more.

Thanks to a new retirement security program, about 600,000 more employees in the state will be able to save for retirement through automatic payroll deductions. Connecticut is one of 10 states that have enacted work-and-save programs; 30 more are considering similar measures.

The state legislature created the Connecticut Retirement Security Authority in 2016 to allow private-sector workers to sign up for retirement savings accounts if they lacked access to them.

The legislation is “a ‘win-win’ for those that save, for taxpayers and for the state of Connecticut,” said John Erlingheuser, AARP Connecticut director of advocacy and community outreach. If those workers put away even $1,000 more a year for retirement, the state could save $90 million in social service programs by 2032, he noted.

There are “zero costs to businesses for this program,” Erlingheuser emphasized, adding that the rollout will begin with voluntary participation in 2019.

Self-sustaining and voluntary
The quasi-public authority running the program is financially self-sustained, not taxpayer funded. Operating costs would be collected from fees employees pay to financial service vendors, and those costs are capped.

Connecticut Retirement Security Authority Chairman Scott Jackson said work and save is good for businesses because it will help with employee recruitment in a competitive job market.

“It’s an opportunity for employers to maintain good employees, because now they have a benefit that they may not have had before,” said Jackson.

According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, about 44 percent of Connecticut’s private-sector employees work for an employer without a retirement plan.

Social Security offers retirement benefits, but the average monthly check is only about $1,400, according to federal figures.

About 90 percent of households participating in workplace retirement plans say payroll deductions make it easy to save, the institute reports.

Kevin Lembo, state comptroller, who answers frequently asked questions about the work-and-save program on his website, said a common concern is how much taxpayers will have to pay into it.

His answer: “Nothing. This program is designed to be self-sustaining.”

Employee participation is strictly voluntary, said Lembo, a member of the authority’s board of directors. Participants “can change their contribution rate at any time to make it higher, lower or zero,” he said.

Lembo also pointed out that while people can get IRAs on their own, many aren’t doing so.

“It’s simply not happening for a variety of reasons, including cost and misunderstanding of the financial industry. It is a fact that retirement savings rates vastly increase when available through payroll deduction.”

Karen Ali is a writer living in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Another Chance to Learn about Connecticut’s New Retirement Security Program

AARP Connecticut will host a free event at Hartford’s Hanging Hill Brewing Company on November 29 where people can enjoy free drinks and food while learning more about the upcoming Connecticut Retirement Security Program.

Too many men and women across Connecticut are working hard to build a secure future for themselves and their families, but have no access to a workplace retirement savings option. Soon, a new easy way for workers to save for the future will be available. The Connecticut Retirement Security program will help the more than 600,000 workers in our state grow the savings they need to take control of their future. You decide how much to save, and your money stays with you, even if you switch jobs.

The addition of the event at Hanging Hill Brewery is the seventh AARP Connecticut will host around the state to discuss the new law and answer questions. Previous locations include Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, Mystic Aquarium, Real Art Ways, BAD SONS Beer Company, Kinsman Brewing Company and Taylor Brooke Winery on November 2 (register for the event at https://aarp.cvent.com/d/2gq40k/).

The interactive and engaging event is free but space is limited and registration is required. Attendees can share their thoughts, ask questions and learn more about Connecticut’s new retirement security law. Register at https://aarp.cvent.com/HangingHills. For more information on the program, visit www.aarp.org/CTRetirementSecurity.

Hanging Hill Brewing Company
150 Ledyard Street
Hartford, CT 06114
Thursday, November 29, 2018
5:30 – 8 p.m.

Taylor Brooke Winery
848 CT-171
Woodstock, CT 06281
Friday, November 2, 2018
5:30 – 8 p.m.

Six Events to Learn More About Connecticut’s New Retirement Security Program

Men and women across Connecticut are working hard to build a better future for themselves and their families. But too many have no access to a retirement savings plan at work, especially if they work for a small business.

Soon, a new easy way for workers to save for the future will be available. The Connecticut Retirement Security program will help the more than 600,000 workers in our state grow the savings they need to take control of their future. You decide how much to save, and your money stays with you, even if you switch jobs.

From a zoo to a brewery to an aquarium to a winery, AARP Connecticut is hosting a series of six events at locations around the state discuss the new law and answer questions. The events are free, but space is limited and registration is required.

Real Art Ways
Hartford
Thursday, September 6, 2018; from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

BAD SONS Beer Company
Derby
Thursday, September 13, 2018; from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Kinsman Brewing Company
Milldale
Thursday, September 20, 2018; from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Mystic Aquarium
Mystic
Thursday, October 4, 2018; from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Bridgeport
Thursday, October 11, 2018; from 4:30 – 8 p.m.

Taylor Brooke Winery
Woodstock
Friday, November 2, 2018; from 6 – 8 p.m.

Continued Progress towards Launch of Connecticut Retirement Security Program

The Connecticut Retirement Security Authority Board continues to make steady progress towards the phased rollout of the new Connecticut Retirement Security Program, a program created to help small businesses provide employees with an easy way to save for retirement at work.

The program requires all Connecticut businesses of five or more employees with no pension or 401 K plan to allow employees to save for retirement through payroll deductions into private IRA accounts at no cost to the employers. It will be voluntary for employees, who will be automatically enrolled but have the ability to opt out. This retirement savings option will help approximately 600,000 workers in Connecticut grow retirement savings so they can take control of their future.

Tim Ryan, an AARP Connecticut volunteer leading the organization’s effort on the education and implementation of the Connecticut Retirement Security Program, said, “We are encouraged by the progress being made to bring this program to a reality and urge everyone to keep pushing forward with their support. We need to remember, the AARP Public Policy Institute found that between 2018-2032 Connecticut could save over $90 million if lower income retires save enough to increase their retirement income by only $1000 a year.”

For more information, please visit AARP Connecticut’s retirement security web page.

Progress towards Launch of Connecticut Retirement Security Program Continues

March 20, 2018

The Connecticut Retirement Security Authority Board continues to make steady progress towards the phased rollout of the new Connecticut Retirement Security Program. The bill was signed into law in 2016 and is on-track to begin operation in 2018.

The plan requires all Connecticut businesses of five or more employees with no pension or 401 K plan to allow employees to save for retirement through payroll deductions into private IRA accounts. It will be voluntary for employees, who will be automatically enrolled but have the ability to opt out. In Connecticut there are approximately 600,000 people who will be helped in saving for retirement with this new law.

Tim Ryan, the AARP Connecticut volunteer who is leading the organization’s effort on the education and implementation of the Connecticut Retirement Security Program, said, “It’s tremendous to see how close Connecticut is to implementing the plan that provides the 600,000 workers without a workplace retirement savings plan an opportunity to build a secure financial future for their families. We encourage everyone who is interested in volunteering or learning more about this plan that will benefit our state at no cost to taxpayers to reach out to us.”

For more information, please visit AARP Connecticut’s retirement security web page.

According the AARP Public Policy Institute finds that between 2018-2032 Connecticut could save over $90 million if lower income retires save enough to increase their retirement income by only $1000 a year.

There is a $7 trillion retirement savings deficit among older Americans in the United States, according to data from The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Further, AARP Public Policy Institute studies show that people are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they can do so through a payroll deduction program at work.