Proposed bill would address retirement savings problem

To the editor,

It is a stark reality that on average, working households in Maine have just $2,500 in retirement account savings. As the current AARP volunteer state president, a Portland resident, and a former small business owner, I am very interested in changing this situation.

Our great state of Maine has over 175,000 small businesses who could help provide a mechanism for its employees to begin to save for their own retirement. In our 2020 legislative session, a simple solution to address this growing and critical savings program will be considered. AARP strongly supports LD 594, the Maine Retirement Savings Program, sponsored by Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic).

Under this new law, employers would be able to offer their employees a way to save for retirement through payroll deduction. Employees would be automatically enrolled in this program unless they opted out of it. However, a survey we just released showed that 98 percent of voters in Maine who are working believe it’s important to save for retirement at work. And 84 percent of workers without access to a workplace savings program would take advantage of one if it were available. Over time, even a small contribution can make a big difference.

If you are one of the thousands of Mainers concerned about saving for retirement, please urge your legislators to support LD 594. It’s time for Maine lawmakers to give employees the opportunity to increase their savings and take control of their future.

Pat Pinto, AARP Maine volunteer state president

Portland