By Mike Festa
State Director, AARP Massachusetts
AARP Massachusetts recently released a survey of 600 registered voters aged 25 to 64 who say they are not financially prepared for retirement. Nearly all respondents aged 35 and over (89%) wish they had more money saved for retirement, and 89% of respondents also believe it is very important to be able to save for retirement while working.
To address this issue for our 775,000 members, AARP Massachusetts filed a bill to help people save more for retirement that was heard by the Joint Committee on Financial Services on November 5. An Act to Establish the Massachusetts Secure Choice Retirement Program and Expand the Massachusetts CORE Plan to All Employers, (H. 1075/S. 602) would expand the existing “Connecting Organizations to Retirement” (CORE) plan so that all employers could participate. AARP offered testimony at the hearing, and currently, the Senate and House bills are pending in the Joint Committee on Financial Services.
The Act would also create the Massachusetts Secure Choice Retirement Program. Secure Choice makes it easier for businesses to offer employees a way to save for retirement out of their regular paycheck, and it is an easy, stress-free way to grow retirement savings so you can take control of your future.
A secure retirement is out of reach for over one million Massachusetts residents, especially those who work for themselves or small businesses. While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle, it is not enough to depend upon. Many future retirees will not be able to handle the rising cost of basic needs and health care and that’s why we need the Secure Choice bill passed into law.
Data from the AARP survey shows that a majority (70%) respondents report feeling anxious about having enough money for retirement while nearly half (47%) are not confident they will have enough money to cover healthcare expenses in their retirement years.
The survey showed wide support for a public-private managed state retirement savings option. Nearly all (87%) agree that elected officials should support legislation that would make it easier for small businesses to offer employees a way to save for retirement. Yet, almost half of Massachusetts’ private sector employees (about 1.25 million) work for an employer that does not offer a retirement plan. The majority (83%) of respondents with no current access to an employer savings plan said it was likely they would take advantage of an employer-offered savings plan.
As taxpayers, most (79%) of the survey respondents are concerned that some Massachusetts residents have not saved enough for retirement and could end up being forced to rely on public assistance programs. ∞
Reprinted from December 2019 edition of the South Shore Senior News.