AARP Among Those Backing a New Way to Save for Retirement

Charleston Gazette - Gaylene Miller, AARP West Virginia state director, would like to see greater access to affordable workplace retirement plans for all West Virginians. Read

West Virginia is one of 12 states to dabble with the idea of implementing some form of employee retirement savings program for private workers lacking a workplace retirement plan.

"We are talking about a lot of West Virginians," Miller said. "There are a variety of good reasons they need access to workplace savings."

From 2011 to 2013, an average of nearly 350,000 West Virginians did not participate in a workplace retirement program, according to AARP and the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy. Fifty-seven percent of the state's private workers do not have access to retirement plans at work.

Ted Boettner, the center's executive director, said developing a voluntary retirement program is about looking at the state's long-term fiscal picture and taking steps to ensure people have they assets they need to retire and deal with emergencies.

"If we don't do anything, these numbers are just going to basically stay the same or get worse," Boettner said. "The senior population will be more reliant on senior services and other types of state programs and Social Security."

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