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Survey: Texas workers need on-the-job savings options

A new AARP Texas survey shows that 82% of residents support new measures that would help them solve the puzzle of saving for retirement. Photo: qimono/Pixabay

By Roz Brown
Texas News Service

AUSTIN, Texas — Americans are living longer and working longer, but a new study shows the majority of Texans aren’t socking away enough money for retirement, in part because their employers don’t offer a plan for workers to save money.

A survey of 500 small business owners conducted by AARP Texas found two-thirds of private-sector companies do not offer a traditional employer-based retirement plan. Tim Morstad, associate state director for advocacy and outreach at AARP Texas, called the issue a “looming crisis.”

“Looking at the numbers right now, we have got too many Texans who are staring at the reality of an insecure retirement,” Morstad said. “In a decade or two, that’s going to be exacerbated.”

He said the survey showed the majority of those business owners overwhelmingly support new statewide measures to help them offer better savings plans. He added race and ethnicity also are factors, with non-white workers accounting for 64% of those without an employer-based plan for retirement saving.

Retired Judge John Vasquez, who is a member of the AARP Texas Executive Council, said without new plans, millions of Texans could be overly dependent on Social Security when they retire.

“Whether you work for a big company or a small company, we should have access to these type of plans,” Vasquez said. “And the smaller the business, the less likely, unfortunately, that they would have these type of plans in place, because it does take time and effort to set them up.”

Between 2017 and 2018, Texas was one of four U.S. states with the largest absolute population increases, and Morstad said the new workers who are helping the state’s economy grow also deserve a secure future.

“With all of our tremendous growth we’ve had in Texas, many of the new jobs are in sectors that aren’t offering retirement plans for their employees to save,” Morstad said.

In testimony before the state Legislature, Morstad said small business owners are concerned their workers, without more savings, could become reliant on public assistance programs when they retire.

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