illinois secure choice savings program

Comment Letter to Department of Labor Secretary Perez in regards to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking creating the State Savings Arrangements Safe Harbor

Woodstock Institute strongly supports creating a safe harbor for employers that are mandated to participate in state-established and administered automatic enrollment payroll deduction retirement savings programs, and we encourage the DOL to expand the safe harbor to employers that voluntarily participate in those programs. 

Despite bipartisan support for a mandatory Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, New Jersey opts for a voluntary plan for all employers

A year ago, Illinois became the first state in the nation to pass a law to address that looming retirement crisis.  Spurred, in part, by Woodstock Institute research that showed that 2.5 million private-sector workers in Illinois lacked access to any employment-based retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), the state passed the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program.

With Average APRs Over 200%, Illinois Consumer Advocates Call For Restrictions On Risky Car Title Loans (Progress Illinois)

Title lending, in which a borrower's vehicle is used as collateral, provides small-dollar loans, but often comes with high interest rates and expensive fees. Title loan borrowers are paying triple-digit annual percentage rates (APRs) in Illinois, where there is no cap on title loan APRs or maximum terms.
"Financially vulnerable families are turning to high-cost title loans to try to help make ends meet or cover the cost of an unexpected expense.

Proposed Department of Labor rule ensures Illinois Secure Choice retirement savings program will not be subject to ERISA law

Written by Dory Rand on November 16, 2015 - 3:36pm
Secure Choice Press Conference

Woodstock’s 2012 research report entitled Coming Up Short illustrated that over 2.5 million private-sector workers in Illinois, in every corner of the state, lack access to a retirement savings plan through their place of employment. Most of these workers are in smaller companies and in industries such as retail and food service that pay low wages and offer few, if any, benefits. We know that this situation holds true in the rest of the country, as well.

President Obama endorses state policies to expand private-sector retirement savings

About a third of American workers lack access to a retirement plan through their employer. A recent report by the National Institute on Retirement Security shows that the median retirement account balance for all working-age households in the United States is only $2,500.

Community Investment Awards Highlight Secure Choice & Student Loans Report (Illinois Asset Building Group)

Amy Rynell, Senior Director of Research & Policy at Heartland Alliance, accepted Woodstock Institute’s Community Investment Award, stating:

"Without access to easy, convenient tools to build retirement savings more people will experience a reduced quality of life in retirement, putting many at risk of poverty – straining families, communities and the state. Secure Choice will provide many of these workers with the opportunity to save and have a more stable future."

Small Business -- and State Governments -- May Rescue Your Retirement (

But now, the small-business backbone of the economy is slowly rising to the occasion, often with the assistance of state governments.

Here's one such example from the state of Washington: The Small Business Retirement Marketplace, signed into law last week by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, will provide an estimated 1.5 million residents in the state with access to workplace-based retirement accounts.

Automatic for the People (The Weekly Wonk)

When the lobbyist completed his remarks, Biss pulled him aside and asked him for the number of the bill the lobbyist had squelched. “Now, he probably wishes he hadn’t [done that],” Biss said at a recent New America event recounting how the Illinois bill became a law. A revised version of that bill, sponsored by Biss, recently became an Illinois state law set to take effect in June of 2015.


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