For the past several years, the International Foundation has strategically focused on the topic of retirement security. The most recent Talking Benefits podcast episode covered one crucial way to help employees reach retirement security—by giving them access to a retirement plan. Podcast host and Vice President of Content at the Foundation Julie Stich, CEBS interviewed Christine Cheng, senior officer on the Retirement Savings Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts, to discuss state-facilitated retirement programs (and in particular the Illinois program).

For more than 15 years, states and municipalities have been looking at ways to increase the retirement security of their residents. These discussions have included the idea of facilitating and/or mandating access to retirement plans through state-run programs. The first state to legislate such a program was California in 2012. The second state was Illinois, with a bill signed by the governor in early 2015. The Illinois SECURE CHOICE program launched in 2018. As of June 16, 2023, there were 19 states and two cities that had enacted a program, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Retirement Initiatives. Some of these programs have been implemented, while some are still in the development stage.

Tune in to learn about state-facilitated retirement programs, including:

-The reasons behind the development of these programs
-The retirement savings crisis
-What retirement income shortfalls could mean for federal and state budgets moving forward
-How the IRA model works and why it’s the most commonly used
-How the Illinois SECURE CHOICE program works and where it has found success
-Administrative and responsibilities for employers when offering their own retirement plans.

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Anne Patterson

Marketing Communications Manager Favorite Foundation Product: Foundation Community. It’s like LinkedIn but only for Foundation members. They can post questions, share best practices, etc—all with fellow members who also live and breathe employee benefits. Benefits-related Topics That Interest Her Most: Workplace wellness (especially mental health), diversity, equity and inclusion, behavioral decision making, family-friendly benefits, payroll audits. Personal Insight: When she’s not busy analyzing the inner workings of her toddler’s brain (does anyone actually know?!), Anne finds joy in home renovation and décor, haiku writing, watching Jeopardy, creating charcuterie boards, and bicycling.

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