State Automated Savings Programs

Collected resources on employer, worker, and taxpayer experiences

Navigate to:

State Automated Savings Programs

Tens of millions of Americans don’t have access to workplace retirement benefits, threatening their future financial security and burdening state budgets. In the last decade more than a dozen states and cities passed legislation establishing automated savings programs designed to help workers save for retirement. Also known as auto-IRAs, work and save, and secure choice, these programs allow small businesses to recruit and retain workers by offering a no-cost retirement benefit. And when workers are more financially secure, they are less reliant on taxpayer-funded government programs, better able to withstand financial shocks, and more likely to save for their future.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ retirement savings project provides data, analysis, and technical assistance to help states design automated savings programs to best fit the needs of employers, workers, and taxpayers.

This video is hosted by YouTube. In order to view it, you must consent to the use of “Marketing Cookies” by updating your preferences in the Cookie Settings link below.


This video is hosted by YouTube. In order to view it, you must consent to the use of “Marketing Cookies” by updating your preferences in the Cookie Settings link below.


No Retirement Plan at Work? An Automated Savings Program Can Fix That

Benefits for Small Businesses

Many small businesses are unable to offer retirement benefits because of high startup costs and lack of administrative capacity. Automated savings programs are a no-cost and user-friendly retirement benefit for small businesses.

money
money
Article

Survey: Small Businesses Embrace Automated Savings Programs

Early state implementation efforts show business support for a public-private partnership retirement savings option

Quick View
Article

Survey: Small Businesses Embrace Automated Savings Programs

Many employers that do not provide retirement benefits are signing up at the first opportunity for innovative state programs intended to help private sector workers save for their futures. In addition, responses to a survey in Oregon indicate that business owners see advantages for their employees in the state’s new individual retirement account program

roll of cash
roll of cash
Issue Brief

Is the OregonSaves Retirement Program Expensive?

Nearly 80% of small-business owners reported that they didn’t incur any out-of-pocket costs due to OregonSaves program

Quick View
Issue Brief

Employer-provided defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s are now the main vehicle for retirement savings in the United States. Some research, however, estimates that as many as 42% of American workers lack access to a retirement plan at their jobs.

Savings Access for Private Sector Workers

Research shows that workers are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they can use payroll deduction. Yet tens of millions of Americans—nearly half of private sector workers—don’t have access to retirement savings at work.

Mathew Falco, owner of Herman's Coffee prepares beans for the day at his business in the Pennsport neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 8, 2019.
Mathew Falco, owner of Herman's Coffee prepares beans for the day at his business in the Pennsport neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 8, 2019.
Article

Nearly 40% in IL Program Feel More Financially Secure

Workers participating in the Illinois Secure Choice program expressed positive views in a statewide survey

Quick View
Article

Nearly 40% in IL Program Feel More Financially Secure

Many of those participating in the Illinois Secure Choice retirement savings program for private sector workers expressed positive views of the program in a survey conducted for The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Barista
Barista
Report

Worker Reactions to State-Sponsored Auto-IRA Programs

Nationwide survey shows that workers at small- and medium-size businesses support automatic program features

Quick View
Report

To help inform policymakers, The Pew Charitable Trusts surveyed more than 900 workers without access to retirement plans at small and midsize businesses (those with five to 250 employees) to see how they perceive state-sponsored auto-IRA proposals. A series of focus groups provided additional context. 

Fiscal Impact of Barriers to Savings

States across the country are dealing with multiple budgeting challenges. Insufficient retirement savings will increase pressure on public assistance programs, reduce tax revenue, and decrease household spending by retirees while shifting the growing fiscal burden to a shrinking population of working-age taxpayers.

Pedestrians on Market St in downtown Philadelphia on Nov. 5, 2019.
Pedestrians on Market St in downtown Philadelphia on Nov. 5, 2019.
Article

Keystone Saves Would Help PA Tackle $15.7B Taxpayer Burden

A study found that the state would face increased public assistance costs because of insufficient retirement savings

Quick View
Article

Keystone Saves Would Help PA Tackle $15.7B Taxpayer Burden

In Pennsylvania, as many as 1 million full-time, full-year private sector workers lack access to a retirement plan through their jobs, a number that swells to 2 million if part-time workers and independent contractors are included.

woman making breakfast
woman making breakfast
Data Visualization

Fiscal Impact: Virginia’s Retirement Savings Deficiencies

Study reveals that saving as little as $40 a week can help Virginia avoid an $11.8 billion increase in public spending

Quick View
Data Visualization

Fiscal Impact: Virginia’s Retirement Savings Deficiencies

Workers in the United States accumulate the vast majority of their retirement savings through employer-based plans, but large gaps in coverage exist. Virginia is no exception, with at least 1 in 3 workers lacking access to a workplace plan.

OUR WORK

America’s Overdose Crisis
America’s Overdose Crisis

America’s Overdose Crisis

Sign up for our five-email course explaining the overdose crisis in America, the state of treatment access, and ways to improve care

Sign up
Quick View

America’s Overdose Crisis

Sign up for our five-email course explaining the overdose crisis in America, the state of treatment access, and ways to improve care

Sign up

Flip to find out

59%

Flip to find out

59% of employers say costs and lack of resources prevent them from offering retirement benefits TWEET

Flip to find out

48%

Flip to find out

48% of private sector workers do not have access to a retirement plan at work TWEET
PODCAST

The American Family: The Not So Golden Years

Quick View
PODCAST

After all the hard work and child rearing, do Americans get to finally relax and retire with some financial stability? Research shows the golden age of retirement doesn’t always shine.

Automatic Enrollment
Automatic Enrollment
Article

Automatic Enrollment Can Boost Retirement Plan Participation

Quick View
Article

Automatic enrollment of workers into retirement plans is changing how Americans save for their post-working years. Enrolling new employees automatically increases plan participation dramatically by eliminating the need for action by the worker.

Freelancers, Sole Proprietors, and Other Nontraditional Workers Have Little Retirement Savings
Freelancers, Sole Proprietors, and Other Nontraditional Workers Have Little Retirement Savings
Article

Nontraditional Workers Have Little Retirement Savings

Quick View
Article

A large proportion of nontraditional workers—sometimes known as contingent, gig, alternative, or independent workers—do not have access to workplace plans to save for their retirements, according to a survey conducted for The Pew Charitable Trusts.