AARP Wisconsin: Wisconsinites would benefit from a workplace retirement savings program

Jim Flaherty
AARP Wisconsin

MADISON, WI – Several red-shirted AARP Wisconsin volunteer advocates will be at the State Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 10, as a show of support for legislation that would establish a state-run retirement savings program for those without access in the workplace.

The bill – referred to as the Wisconsin Private Security Retirement Act (SB45 and AB70) – will be discussed during a public hearing hosted by the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform.

AARP Wisconsin believes the bill is necessary to help nearly one million Wisconsinites in the private sector who currently have no retirement savings option at work.

The bill makes it easy for small businesses to establish a basic retirement savings option for employees with professionally managed investments. It also makes it easier for workers to build their own private retirement savings rather than having to depend on government programs.

Earlier this year AARP unveiled a 21-page survey titled, “Building a Secure Financial Future in Wisconsin: Key Findings from an AARP Survey,” which revealed that 60% of working registered voters age 45 and older are likely to put off retirement as long as possible due to a lack of savings.

Almost half (42%) of this group indicate their employer does not offer a workplace savings play to employees such as a 401K or 403b. Nearly six in 10 (59%) say their employer does not offer the traditional pension plan.

“Social Security simply isn’t enough to depend on in retirement and too many people don’t have a way to save at work,” said AARP Wisconsin Federal Advocacy Director Lisa Lamkins. “A workplace savings option would be all about choice and control. It would be up to you if you want to contribute to your account, and your account would follow you when switch jobs so you can continue to be in control of your future.

“When workers have a way to save through their employer, their rate of retirement savings goes up exponentially,” Lamkins said. The results of this survey clearly show that most Wisconsinites not only haven’t saved enough for retirement, but would benefit greatly from a work-based savings option.

“The bottom line is that AARP wants to ensure people have the personal and retirement savings they need to live independently in their own home as they grow older,” Lamkins said.