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State of Illinois Unveils Program to Help Residents Save for Retirement

The state of Illinois has unveiled a new program to help residents save for retirement.

Administered by the Illinois State Treasurer’s office, the Illinois Secure Choice Program allows businesses in Illinois that do not offer a savings plan to either enroll employees into Secure Choice or opt for a savings plan offered by a private financial services provider.

To be eligible, businesses need to have been in business for at least two years and employ 25 or more workers.

Secure Choice will give employees an option that will address a growing concern, said Greg Rivara, spokesman for Illinois State Treasurer’s Office.

“Illinois has a retirement savings crisis – nearly half of all private‑sector workers lack access to an employment-based retirement savings option,” Rivara said. “Secure Choice will enable more than 1.2 million Illinois workers to save their own money for retirement, and it will be able to do so in a safe, easy, and convenient manner.”

Rivara said the plan will save taxpayer dollars in the long run.

“Retirement savings reduce the need for state and federal social safety net programs that are funded through tax dollars,” he said. “Secure Choice helps individuals save their own money to remain self-sufficient and not become a burden on the social safety net.”

The program is overseen by a seven-person bipartisan board, and managed by Ascensus, a private-sector financial services company. Ascensus was selected by the board through a competitive bid process.

Rivara said registration and enrollment will take place in three waves and begin with the largest employers first.

“The first wave begins this fall and employers with 500+ employees will need to complete registration and enrollment by the end of the November,” he said. “Employers with between 100 and 499 workers will enroll in July 2019 and employers with between 25 and 99 workers will enroll in November 2019.”