A bill presented today in the Senate Financial Institutions & Housing Committee would give more Washingtonians the opportunity to begin to Save Toward a Retirement Today (STaRT).

“As a small business owner with 47 employees, I worry that my employees are not saving for retirement while they’re working,” said the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah. “This bill will combine the expertise of the private and public sectors to create a partnership so that small businesses could offer an affordable and easy-to-use savings plan.”

The Washington Department of Retirement Services already oversees thousands of retirement plans for state employees. Senate Bill 6294 would direct the department to create a voluntary 401 (k) style retirement investment system for employers with less than 100 employees.

As a participant, the employee would choose the target date or age he or she would like to retire and the investment portfolio would adjust over time to reach the participant’s financial goals so they can retire on time.

“Participation in STaRT is completely optional for both the employer and the employees,” said Mullet. “If an employer chooses not to match their employees’ contributions, they wouldn’t have to. In the long term, this bill will save the state money and make government more efficient when more people in Washington are ready and financially prepared for retirement.”