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New retirement savings program suits Vermont’s small business economy

June 08, 2017
Vermont Business Magazine, June 7, 2017 - by Stephanie Hainley

Over 50 million working Americans are headed toward poverty in retirement. The lack of retirement savings is staggering, but fortunately, there is one simple way to help change that: give more people access to workplace savings plans. Some states, including Vermont under the guiding hand of Treasurer Beth Pearce, the Governor’s support, and bi-partisan efforts, have taken it upon themselves to help more working families save by creating a state-based public retirement option, which makes it incredibly simple for Vermont’s small employers to offer their employees access to a vetted product. Vermont’s small business economy depends on innovative solutions like this, and I am pleased to see Green Mountain Secure Retirement on the horizon.

As COO of a small business, I know firsthand how costly it can be to set up access to retirement savings product for a small number of employees. While we did it at White + Burke, it is complex and labor-intensive. For many Vermont’s small employers, who often operate on modest bottom lines, providing a retirement plan to employees is just not feasible.

Passed through the legislature as part of the economic development bill (S.135), the new Green Mountain Secure Retirement program, sets up a public opt-in multiple employer plan (MEP). Only small businesses that wish to enter into the plan will do so. This program would also be the first plan of its kind in the nation to allow for an employer to make contributions, in addition to employees.