EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Workers are 15 times more likely to invest in their retirements if they’re offered a plan. But in Pennsylvania, many employers aren’t doing that so the state is pushing a plan of its own.
“I’d like to retire now if I could. But I can’t. So, 65,” said Tom Murray of Scranton.
Tom Murray is one of many workers planning his retirement.
But according to the Pennsylvania State Treasury, more than 2 million Pennsylvanians don’t have access to retirement accounts.
“These are all people that we know. Hairstylists and barbers, truckers and mechanics our favorite waitresses and bartenders,” said Treasurer, Stacy Garrity.
A new proposed program would let workers without plans invest for their retirement.
It’s called the Keystone Saves Program and employees would be able to set the contribution rate and risk level. All employers have to do is facilitate the deduction, no match is required.
“It’s a great idea. Everyone wants to retire on some type of money. But how are they going to pay for it? How are they going to fund it? Like you said, it’s going to cost billions of dollars. How are they going to get it,” asked Murray?
The state treasurer will oversee the program which is similar to 529 plans for college savings.
Unprepared retirees can cost a billion a year in social services.
“PA taxpayers will ultimately be on the hook for rising costs that retirees cannot cover,” explained Rep. Tracy Pennycuick.
“Everyone thinks about social security because we all pay into it. My money went in to fund it. Your money goes in to fund it. Everyone that works money goes in to fund it. So why shouldn’t we be able to get it,” said Murray.
If the bill passes the legislature and is signed by the governor, it would take four years to phase it in.
Other groups like AARP, United Way and nursing home advocates say they are all on board.