Survey: majority of Utahns support state-run retirement plan

A recent survey shows that three out of four Utahns of working age say they support a system where the state would operate a retirement savings plan. Photo courtesy St. Louis County, MN.

SALT LAKE CITY – A strong majority of people in Utah, between the ages of 25 and 64, and regardless of political affiliation, support the creation of a state-run retirement savings plan, according to a recent survey from AARP.

Laura Polacheck, communications director with AARP Utah, says the survey shows 77 percent of respondents support the idea of a <a href=”http://www.aarp.org/research/topics/economics/info-2015/utah-work-and-save.html” target=”parent”>Utah Retirement Savings Plan</a>. She says it would provide every working adult the opportunity to build retirement assets.

“It’s portable, it’s voluntary, there’s no ongoing costs to the taxpayer,” says Polacheck. “It’s really up to the individual worker to take responsibility to start saving for their own retirement.”

Polacheck says other research shows just over half of working people in Utah don’t have access to a retirement plan through their current employer. She adds, the survey shows support above 75 percent from people who self identify their political ideology as conservative, moderate or liberal.

State Senator Todd Weiler introduced <a href=”http://le.utah.gov/%7E2015/bills/static/SJR009.html” target=”parent”>Senate Joint Resolution 9</a> in the current legislative session. It calls for a working group made up of employees, employers and state lawmakers to develop a model for providing small business retirement savings through the workplace.

Polacheck says such a system could also save taxpayers money in the long term.

“It’s less cost to the taxpayer because there are fewer people then who are going to have to rely on government services when they retire, if we prepare them before they retire,” she says.

Polacheck says nationally, the typical working-age household has about $3,000 in retirement assets, while near-retirement households have about $12,000.

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