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What Most U.S. Workers Really Want

AARP survey finds more help with saving is needed

Discussing how to save for your retirement

Getty Images/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

55 million Americans do not have access to workplace retirement plans.

A new AARP survey of almost 4,000 workers ranging in age from 18 to 64 found widespread support (84 percent) for laws that make it easier to put money away for retirement. That support cuts across political lines: 89 percent of self-described liberals, 86 percent of moderates and 82 percent of conservatives agreed.

Today, 55 million Americans do not have access to retirement accounts that automatically save money from their paychecks, such as employer-sponsored 401(k) accounts. Low-income workers are especially at risk.

To address that problem, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington have passed legislation to launch state-based plans for workers who do not have access to workplace retirement plans. Many other states are considering it.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is considering legislation that could block those efforts.

AARP supports the state-sponsored “work and save” programs that make it easier for employers to offer retirement savings accounts to employees by removing regulatory barriers.

“Our survey shows that Congress’ actions to limit state flexibility to address retirement insecurity are seriously out of touch with the will of voters, who resoundingly, across party lines, approve of these state retirement initiatives,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “When workers — many of them working for small businesses — are unable to save enough to get by in retirement, they face the possibility of becoming dependent on safety-net programs that, in the end, cost taxpayers."