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The FBI’s Peter Strzok spends 10 hours in open testimony in Congress. Also on the Friday rundown: Granite Staters protest AG Sessions' approach to fighting opioid abuse, and Latino Conservation Week starts on Saturday.

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High Praise for CT Retirement Program

Older Americans have an estimate $7 trillion retirement savings deficit. (americanadvisorsgroup.com)
Older Americans have an estimate $7 trillion retirement savings deficit. (americanadvisorsgroup.com)
June 6, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut's new Retirement Security Program is drawing high praise from advocates for seniors.

Some 600,000 Connecticut workers have no employer-sponsored pension or retirement savings plan.

According to John Erlingheuser, advocacy director for AARP in Connecticut, the new state program will give those workers a way to save without adding to payroll costs.

"What this legislation would do is require businesses of five or more people to provide a payroll deduction savings opportunity into private IRA accounts," says Erlingheuser.

The basic program, which will be fully operational by 2018, will put three percent of workers' pay into an IRA account chosen from a list of approved vendors.

Employees can choose to raise or lower the contribution rate, or opt out of the program altogether.

Social Security alone will not provide most people with the money they'll need just to get by once they retire.

As Erlingheuser points out, saving for retirement is critical.

"And by doing it through payroll deduction, people are 15 times more likely to save for retirement than if they have to do a private savings account for retirement on their own," he says.

According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, there is currently a $7 trillion retirement savings deficit among older Americans.

Erlingheuser says that means many retirees will end up depending on programs such as rental assistance, food stamps and Medicaid to survive.

"So in Connecticut, where we're facing significant budget hurdles that put a strain on social safety-net programs, it's important for us to continue to increase savings," says Erlingheuser.

The program is expected to save the state about $8 million in the first five years.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT