State Treasurer proposes new retirement options for Wisconsinites

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MADISON (WKOW) — More than 50 percent of working Wisconsinites have less than $3,000 saved for retirement, according to State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski.

Governor Tony Evers appointed her to serve on the Retirement Taskforce to find solutions to a growing problem for baby boomers and college-aged individuals. Godlewski said too often she hears people wished they saved more.

“People say access to (retirement) tools is a really critical problem,” Godlewski said. “When you give them access to retirement, they’re 15 times more likely to save.”

She’s exploring options other states are implementing, for example, state-run retirement plans. These types of plans help workers in the private sector who don’t have access to a retirement plan through their employers.

Godlewski says nine states are currently using this system, pointing to Oregon’s success. She said within 18 months, Oregon enrolled more than 20,000 people, creating over $5 million in savings. As a result, the state’s retirement gap shrank by 16%. 

“We’re really going to start looking at [which] solutions best fit our people because I think this is an economic problem that we want to make sure that we solve.”

Godlewski is also planning to present Roth IRA’s to the Taskforce. This gives investors a “pay now, save later approach,” unlike 401(k)s. It also allows the younger generation to take money out of their retirement fund at any time, without fees, to pay for college or make a downpayment on a house.

While most college-aged students are not thinking about retirement, Godlewski hopes to teach them that just $5 a month can go a long way.

The Taskforce is expected to begin meeting this fall.

Emilee Fannon

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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