A new report released today by our friends at Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center shares the barriers that many Illinoisans (especially low-income workers, women, immigrants and workers of color) face when it comes to saving for retirement. The report, Equitable Access to Secure Choice: Addressing the Barriers to Retirement Savings for Low-Income Workers in Illinois, also examines what must be addressed in order for Illinois’ new retirement savings program, Secure Choice, to be accessible to all eligible workers.
The report found that:
- Many low-income workers in Illinois are not able to save for retirement due to lack of employer-sponsored retirement options.
- Many low-income workers in Illinois struggle to save for retirement due to lack of funds or appropriate financial planning support.
- The need for emergency savings accounts is just as high as the need for retirement savings accounts.
- Secure Choice has promising features that speak directly to the needs of low-income workers in Illinois.
Equitable Access to Secure Choice also provides considerations that would help make the Secure Choice program accessible for Illinois families.
Secure Choice Implementation Considerations:
- Make program features clear.
- Limit the number of investment options and provide guidance on the differences between existing options.
- Take advantage of tax season.
- Include portability discussions in exit interviews.
Financial Planning Considerations:
- Address lack of financial planning supports.
- Refer workers to vetted institutions that can assist with emergency savings accounts.
- Remind workers about portability.
- Provide demonstrations on how to navigate the online site for Secure Choice.
- All messaging needs to be written at an accessible reading level.
- Clarify stakeholder roles.
- Define ‘meaningful information’ for monthly statement content.
Read the full report to learn more about Secure Choice and equitable access to retirement savings.
Join the Social IMPACT Research Center for a Webinar
The Social IMPACT Research Center will be hosting a webinar about the report on December 5th from 1 PM to 2 PM CT. Register here to join the discussion and to hear from the report author and the State Treasurer’s Office as they discuss the findings and the Secure Choice program.