AARP Hails Final NYS Legislative Passage of Bill to Strengthen State’s Retirement Savings Program
Urges Swift Signing by Governor to Ensure Stronger ‘Secure Choice’ Payroll Deduction Savings Program is Up and Running for Private Sector Workers Who Now Lack a Workplace Savings Option
ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York today hailed final New York State legislative passage of a bill to strengthen the State’s Secure Choice Savings Program and is urging swift approval of the legislation by Governor Andrew Cuomo to ensure the most robust program empowering private sector employees to begin saving is up and running as soon as possible.
“This bill could help millions of private sector employees in New York State save for their retirement and make themselves financially secure and independent,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “AARP New York urges Governor Cuomo to sign this legislation as soon as possible to ensure this stronger Secure Choice Savings Program is up and running and empowering more New Yorkers to save.”
The bill’s sponsors, Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, have championed Secure Choice since 2018, when the program was enacted as part of the state budget and the pair won AARP “Super Saver” awards for their efforts.
“AARP applauds Senator Savino and Assembly Member Rodriguez for their long and ongoing leadership on Secure Choice, including their follow-through this year in advocating for the strongest possible retirement savings program,” Finkel said. “We thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and their houses for passing this bill.”
The yet-to-be-implemented Secure Choice program will offer a portable, payroll-deduction Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to many of the more than 3.5 million 18- to 64-year-old private sector employees who work for companies that don’t already offer a retirement savings option.
That’s more than half New York’s private-sector workforce, with employees of color disproportionately lacking access to a workplace savings option – as AARP New York and over a dozen other organizations representing people of color, consumers, business owners and faith leaders noted recently.
The bill amends the Secure Choice program to maximize retirement savings for hard-working New Yorkers by requiring that companies with at least 10 employees which don’t now offer their workers a way to save for retirement enroll their employees in a Secure Choice IRA unless the employee opts out.
“That would vastly increase participation,” said Finkel, a member of the state commission that will set up the program; while people are 15 times likelier to save if they’re able to through their workplace, they’re 20 times more likely to do so if they’re automatically enrolled.
More than 2.5 million New Yorkers work for companies with at least 10 employees that don’t offer savings options. Many small businesses recognize that a workplace retirement savings option can attract and retain employees – but many can’t afford it. Secure Choice will solve that problem. And when AARP New York surveyed the owners of businesses with fewer than 100 employees, more than two thirds supported the idea behind Secure Choice.
“With Mayor Bill de Blasio having signed a version of this program into law for New York City recently, we urge Governor Cuomo to sign this legislation swiftly and begin putting a financially secure and independent retirement within reach for millions more New Yorkers statewide.”
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.