To the Editor:

Today, nearly 30% of Mainers over the age of 65 are living exclusively off Social Security. Our financial future as a community is grim. For instance, it is a sobering fact that more than 207,000 working Mainers between the ages of 18 and 64 currently have no access to a retirement savings program where they work.  Few of these employees save on their own, meaning thousands of our friends and neighbors will more than likely rely nearly entirely on Social Security for their income late in life.

And if we’re honest, it’s not going to get better without some smart changes to how Mainers are able to save for their future. Our state’s new “Work and Save” legislation, passed with strong bipartisan support recently, is one of those smart changes.

Maine is the 14th state in the nation to pass legislation such as this, designed to help workers, small businesses, and our communities, become more financially stable.  In a time of instability, this is something we all can get behind.

This Work and Save program provides a common-sense public-private solution to the thousands of working Mainers who are ready to start saving for the future, using Roth IRAs with private-sector investments.

In this tight labor market, we know that small businesses need every leg up they can get to attract the skilled workers and talent they need. Maine’s Work and Save law can help business owners compete while helping workers save for the future.

There is also a benefit for Maine taxpayers. In fact, the AARP Public Policy Institute estimates that Maine could save $23 million over a 14-year period by helping people save for their own retirement.

AARP Maine thanks the state legislature for seeing the value in this important “Work and Save” concept for the state of Maine. We applaud the tireless efforts of Senator Eloise Vitelli, and thank Treasurer Beck, Attorney General Frey, and the many small business owners who stepped forward in support of the bill this session.

Japhet Els

AARP Maine Advocacy and Outreach Director

Maine

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