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Voters Overwhelmingly Support Workplace Retirement Savings Plans

AARP backs programs and legislation that make saving for retirement easier for all

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Voters are worried about having enough money for retirement — and want more help from their workplaces to save for it, an AARP survey says.

Virtually all voters (99.7 percent) say that it is important for people to be able to save money for retirement while they are working. And 96 percent of voters with a workplace retirement plan say it’s important in helping them save for retirement. Nevertheless, more than 50 million American workers have no access to a retirement savings plan through their employers, and more than a quarter (26 percent) of nonretired adults have no retirement savings.

“America’s retirement savings crisis is causing too many families to fall short. Voters overwhelmingly support legislation that will make it easier to save for retirement,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer. “Congress has an opportunity to help Americans secure their financial future by enacting federal Automatic IRA legislation. The time to act is now.”

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Legislative help

AARP has long championed programs that make it easier for people to invest for retirement — and those programs have wide support among voters.

 Those surveyed also thought that it was either very important or somewhat important that workplace retirement programs be:

  • Portable. You can take your account and retirement money with you when you leave one job and take another (99 percent).
  • Available to all employees who don’t have a way to save for retirement at work, including those who work for small businesses (98 percent).
  • Available for automatic payroll deduction (96 percent).
  • Voluntary. You don’t have to contribute if you don’t want to (90 percent).

AARP research shows that Americans are 15 times more likely to save for retirement when they can do so at work, and are 20 times more likely if their workplace savings is automatic. The AARP Work & Save Program promotes an easy pathway for workers to start building retirement savings in a portable, voluntary program that lets you save through automatic deduction. Another 14 states have passed retirement savings legislation for workers whose companies don’t offer one.

Unfortunately, AARP research also shows that younger workers are skeptical about their ability to save enough for a secure retirement. Only 3 in 10 (29 percent) voters ages 25–44 believe that they will be able to save enough money for retirement. More than 6 in 10 (63 percent) are anxious about having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years.

The findings are based on a late-September survey of 1,010 registered voters ages 25 and older.​

John Waggoner covers all things financial for AARP, from budgeting and taxes to retirement planning and Social Security. Previously he was a reporter for Kiplinger's Personal Finance and  USA Today and has written books on investing and the 2008 financial crisis. Waggoner's  USA Today investing column ran in dozens of newspapers for 25 years.