Our Opinion: Clear the way for easy retirement saving for all Illinoisans (Springfield State Journal-Register)

In Springfield, people talk a lot about retirements and pensions.

It’s a byproduct of living in the Illinois capital, where local and state governments employ more than 25,000 workers — many of whom will retire with some kind of a pension. Thousands of other workers will retire from local private-industry jobs with pensions or retirement savings, too.

But Springfield also is home to thousands of low-wage workers who live paycheck to paycheck now, and probably will in their retirement years, too, because they did not or could not squirrel away money for a far-off rainy day.

Statewide, an estimated 2.5 million people don’t have access to an employee-sponsored retirement plan. Research by the Woodstock Institute, a Chicago-based organization that studies economic justice issues, shows fewer than half of private-sector workers in every Illinois legislative district had access to employment-based retirement plans in 2010.

It’s hard enough for most people to tuck away money on their own for a car, a house or a vacation. It’s even more difficult for people to save money for the long-term goal of retirement, especially without some guidance or access to a simple way to save from every paycheck.
 

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