Opinion

Maine needs retirement savings program

To the editor:

If you have been following the state legislative session, you know that there is a bill — LD 594 — making its way through the process.  This is a bill that would establish a retirement savings program for Maine which is something we sorely need.

 

Too many retired Mainers have virtually no savings at all.  Many working Mainers in their 60s who plan to retire soon face the same plight and so it continues one generation to the next.  Our aging workforce moving into retirement increases public-assistance spending on the elderly and results in an enormous burden for all Maine taxpayers.  We need a retirement savings plan for our state and LD 594 will help get us there.

The program works by offering employees a way to save money through automatic contributions into an IRA directly from their paychecks.  There is no cost to the employer and the employee will see their money grow week after week, year after year. Setting aside even a small amount will make a huge difference down the line.

Research by AARP, mutual fund companies and others show that there is a remarkable spike in savings program participation rates when employees’ contributions are automatic.  Under LD 594, if an employee doesn’t wish to participate, they don’t have to. They can simply opt out of the program anytime they wish. In addition, LD 594 stipulates that any money an employee saves will be theirs to take with them from job to job.

Our state cannot afford to continue without a viable savings program for working Mainers.  It would be fiscally irresponsible not to pass LD 594 and I strongly urge our legislators to pass this critical bill.

Gail Maynard

Perham

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