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An Initiative of the AARP Public Policy Institute


Workers, employers and taxpayers all have a stake in state-sponsored retirement savings plans. Several states have commissioned studies of the costs and benefits of various policy proposals, while other experts have estimated the savings to states when more residents are able to save for retirement at work.

Recent Analysis

Fiscal Savings to States of Helping People Save More for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey

When individuals save for retirement they are less likely to rely on public assistance programs later in life. These fact sheets show the fiscal savings to state governments that could result from lower-income retirees having saved through Work and Save programs during their working years. Find fact sheets for each of the 50 states here.

The Fiscal Implications of Inadequate Retirement Savings in Maine (PDF)

Philip Trostel, The University of Maine — February 2017

This study finds that U.S. taxpayers would save nearly $33 billion over 15 years if small business employees saved through state-facilitated retirement savings plans. The savings would result from less reliance on public assistance programs in retirement.

State Retirement Savings Initiatives Do More than Enhance Retirement Security for Private Sector Workers

Segal Consulting — Winter 2017

Estimates reduction in state Medicaid expenditures over ten years under state-sponsored retirement programs.

Estimated Offset Medicaid Cost Based on Increased Retirement Savings

Cathie Eitelberg, Rocky Joyner, and Bryan Clubb — April 2016

A conservative state-by-state estimate of the savings to Medicaid over five years under a state-sponsored retirement savings plan.

The Business Case for 401(k) Automatic Enrollment

David C. John

Why businesses should use automatic enrollment.

The Case for Automatic Enrollment in Individual Retirement Accounts

Gary Koenig —  February 2012

A 2012 summary of two AARP studies on Automatic IRAs:

           Benjamin H. Harris and Ilana Fischer — February 2012

           Benjamin H. Harris and Rachel M. Johnson        

Other Resources

Enhancing Latino Retirement Readiness in California

Catherine S. Harvey — May 2015

The benefits of a state-sponsored retirement savings plan to Latinos, the largest share of workers in California who lack access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

State-Sponsored Retirement Savings Plans: The Potential Effect on Women

Cindy Hounsell, Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) — October 2014

State-sponsored retirement savings plans could play a pivotal role in offering moderate and low-income working women, especially minority women, a way to save and to improve their retirement readiness.

Livability Index

How livable is your community?

How Much Might Automatic IRAs Improve Retirement Security for Low- and Moderate-Wage Workers? (PDF)

Barbara Butrica and Richard W. Johnson — July 2011

An Urban Institute study of how Automatic IRAs would assist low and moderate income workers.

Most Small Employers Face Low Costs to Implement Automatic IRAs (PDF)

Optimal Benefit Strategies, LLC for AARP — August 2009

A 2009 study looking at small business payroll processing systems and the marginal cost of implementing the Automatic IRA.

State-Specific Studies

California Could Save $1.4 Billion by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

California Secure Choice: Market Analysis, Feasibility Study, and Program Design Consultant Services

Overture Financial LLC — March 2016

This report comprises the market analysis, feasibility, and program design required for the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program by the state legislature.

 

Enhancing Latino Retirement Readiness in California

Catherine Singley Harvey — April 5, 2015

This report asses the retirement readiness of Latinos in California and the potential for California to serve as a model for states seeking to extend retirement savings plans to private sector workers whose employees do not offer them.

 

Designing California's Secure Choice Savings Program: Policy Considerations for Building an Automatic and State-Based Savings Platform (PDF)

Michael Calabrese, Reid Cramer, Aleta Sprague, New America Foundation —  November 2013

This report describes the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, which would create retirement accounts for up to 6.3 million private sector workers currently lacking access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

 

Meeting California's Retirement Security Challenge (PDF)

Nari Rhee — February 2012

This brief gives an overview of the rationale for certain design choices in a state-sponsored retirement system for private sector workers in California.

Connecticut Could Save $90 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

Report to Legislature: Connecticut Retirement Security Board (PDF)

Connecticut Retirement Security Board — January 2016

This report contains evidence-based recommendations for the account structure, governance and enforcement of a financially feasible retirement system for private sector workers in Connecticut.

 

Are Connecticut Workers Ready for Retirement? (PDF)

Joelle Saad Lessler, Teresa Ghilarducci, Kate Bahn, Anthony Bonen, and Lauren Schmitz — April 2013

This report investigates declining employer sponsorship of retirement plans in Connecticut.

 

Forensics and the Future of a Connecticut Pension Plan (PDF)

Jean-Pierre Aubry and Alicia H. Munnell — December 2015

This brief identifies factors leading to the Connecticut State Employees Retirement System's (SERS) unfunded liability and offers suggestions for how to improve the system's finances.  

Georgia Could Save $52.5 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

Estimate of a Work and Save Plan in Georgia (PDF)

Wesley Jones and Sally Wallace, Georgia State University — June 2017

If Georgia residents with no savings were able to save 3% of their annual income before retirement, the state would save between $35.8 and $71.6 million between 2018 and 2030.

Illinois Could Save $139 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

Retirement Security Federalism in Action

Elliot Schreur — April 2015

This paper describes the evolution of state policies to supplement retirement savings and focuses on the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program.

 

Coming Up Short: The Scope of Retirement Insecurity Among Illinois Workers

Spencer M. Cowan — September 2012

This report reviews sources of retirement income along with the number of workers facing retirement insecurity to inform a state-level public policy solution.

 

Policy Brief: Access to Employment-Based Retirement Savings in Illinois

Woodstock Institute — April 2012

This policy brief identifies the subset of the Illinois population that does not have access to employment-based retirement savings plans.

Maine Could Save $23 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

The Fiscal Implications of Inadequate Retirement Savings in Maine (PDF)

Philip Trostel, The University of Maine — February 2017

This study projects the cost to taxpayers of retirees who have to rely on public assistance because they do not have enough saved for retirement. The author finds that if the bottom 40% of retirees had $1,000 more in savings, Maine taxpayers would see $15.6 million in savings by 2032. The savings to all American taxpayers would be $3.9 billion.

Maryland Could Save $69.7 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

1,000,000 of Our Neighbors at Risk: Improving Retirement Security for Marylanders (PDF)

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend — February 2015

This report describes why Maryland should help establish retirement savings accounts for employers that do not currently have them in place.

 

Are Maryland Workers Ready for Retirement? (PDF)

Joelle Saad-Lessler, Teresa Ghilarducci and Lauren Schmitz — March 2013

This report covers the availability of and participation in employer-sponsored retirement plans in Maryland.

Minnesota Could Save $258 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

State Administered Private Sector Employee Retirement Savings Study Workshop (PDF)

Deloitte Development LLC — 2015

Minnesota contracted with Deloitte to provide a feasibility study for state-sponsored retirement savings programs. This presentation includes Deloitte's market analysis, program design, financial impact evaluation, and alternatives.

New Jersey Could Save $194 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

Retiring Poor in New Jersey: The Projected Expenditures on Government Programs for Older Adults

Karen A. Zurlo, Sarah Shin, and Hyungsoo Kim

Increasing the retirement savings rate of workers in New Jersey could save the state $1.6 billion in taxpayer dollars over the next fifteen years.

North Carolina Could Save $127 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

Fiscal Benefits of Increasing the Savings Rates of North Carolina's Aging Population

Craig S. Galbraith, University of North Carolina Wilmington — December 2016

If low-to moderate-income North Carolinians had the ability to save just 3% of their income per year between 2017 and 2030, the state would save nearly $450 million on Medicaid for the elderly and nearly $20 million on Special Assistance for Adults, which provides adult home care.

Oregon Could Save $98.9 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

Oregon Retirement Security: How Are Retirement Needs Being Met Now and in the Future?

Elise Gould and Doug Hall — January 2012

This paper highlights Oregon retirees' heavy reliance on Social Security income and uncovers differences in the reliance on Social Security by income, race, and gender.

Utah Could Save $26.1 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

The Cost of Retiring Poor: Cost to Taxpayers of Utahns Retiring Poor

Jay Goodliffe, Erik Krisle, Sterling Peterson, and Sven Wilson — January 2015

A 10% increase in savings among the one-third of Utah retirees who are least prepared could save the state more than $194 million over the next fifteen years.

Vermont Could Save $12.7 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

Review of Potential Public Retirement Plan Options for Private Sector Employees/Employers in the State of Vermont

Center for Retirement Initiatives, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University — January 2017[HCS1]

Virginia Could Save $135 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

The Cost of Retiring in Virginia: Estimating the Fiscal Benefits of a Work and Save Plan on State Expenditures for Retirees (PDF)

Jia Yu and Quentin Kidd, Christopher Newport University — 2016

If Virginia retirees had 10% more in retirement assets, the state could save as much as $326 million in taxpayer dollars through 2030 due to reduced costs of government funded-benefits to struggling retirees.

Washington Could Save $298 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

Washington Retirement Security Accounts: Universal Access to Retirement Security

Economic Opportunity Institute — January 2010

This fact sheet gives an overview of Washington Voluntary Accounts, a type of defined contribution retirement plan available to all employees.

 

Washington Voluntary Retirement Accounts: Making It Easy to Save For Retirement

Gary Burris — March 1st, 2008

This brief answers frequently asked questions regarding Washington Voluntary Accounts.  

Wisconsin Could Save $139 Million by Helping People Save for Their Own Retirement

William Shiflett and Catherine Harvey — May 2017

 

The Case for Reducing Poverty Among Seniors: Encouraging Savings for Retirement by People in Wisconsin

Jordan Krieger, Genevieve Carter, Matthew Burr, J. Michael Collins, The University of Wisconsin — Madison — January 2017

If Wisconsin households earning $40,000 and below save 3 percent of their income for retirement, state expenditures in 2030 could decrease by more than $3.1 billion annually as individuals become self-sufficient for a longer period of time.

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