Not having a retirement plan can be detrimental to your future, yet almost one million people don’t have one set up. So the Colorado Secure Savings Program set out to close this gap, helping people who live paycheck-to-paycheck begin to save for retirement.
What Is the Colorado Secure Savings Program?
The Colorado Secure Savings Program is a required program that all Colorado employers with 5+ employees must provide, helping employees save for retirement. The program’s goal is to make retirement accounts accessible to everyone since not every employee has access to retirement accounts with automatic deductions through their employer.
It’s a required plan that employers must offer, and employees are automatically enrolled unless they opt-out. The plan aims to help everyone have a fighting chance at having enough money saved for retirement.
The plan is a Roth IRA with contributions deducted from employees’ paychecks. By default, the program takes 5% of each employee’s pay and contributes it to their retirement account. It’s run by the Colorado Secure Savings Program’s board, so it’s not much more work for employers and benefits their employees.
Requirements for Enrollment
The Colorado Secure Savings Program officially rolls out in 2023, but a pilot program starts in October 2022. Any employer with more than five employees who have been in business for over two years and who doesn’t have a retirement plan must comply.
Employees are eligible if they are at least 18 years old, have been with their employer for six months, and have taxable income.
How to Prepare for Enrollment
To prepare for enrollment, employers should look at their options. But first, determine if you already offer a retirement plan. If so, you are in compliance and don’t have to use the Colorado Secure Savings Program.
If you don’t have a retirement plan currently, you’ll need to prepare with the following steps:
- Share information with your employees – Get as much information about the Colorado Secure Savings Program as possible to share with your employees. Consider also sharing it with prospective employees. While not much responsibility falls on the employer’s shoulders to run the program, they should help their employees understand it because it’s optional for employees.
- Get your payroll ready – Any employees who opt into the program will have their contributions automatically deducted from their payroll. Therefore, you’ll need to prepare your payroll department to handle this new responsibility.
Colorado Secure Savings Program Benefits
Employers and employees alike can benefit from the Colorado Secure Savings Program.
You might not think employers benefit from the required retirement program, but they benefit in many ways.
- You can help your employees save for the future. Your employees are essential to your business, so you likely care about their well-being. Helping them save for the future can be your way of giving back for how they help you.
- Employees may work harder. Employees who have benefits outside of their salary are more likely to work harder. Their hard work benefits your bottom line, so helping them with their future is also beneficial.
- Employees feel better. When employees know they are saving for their future because of a plan offered by their employer, they are likely to feel better. In addition, employees with lower stress levels are usually easier to work with.
Employees benefit from the program in obvious ways. First, it closes the gap on the millions of people that don’t currently have a retirement plan. As many as one million Colorado employees currently don’t have a retirement plan, and the Colorado Secure Savings Program plans to change this.
Employee contributions are made to Roth IRAs, so they are after-tax. However, the earnings grow tax-free, and when employees withdraw their funds during retirement, they don’t pay taxes on the earnings.
Concerns Surrounding the Program
Currently, many employers wonder about the level of support they will receive from the program. The state says there is little responsibility or burden placed on employers, but since the program hasn’t fully rolled out yet, many employers have concerns.
Another concern has to do with employees with a high salary. Employees with an adjusted gross income of $139,000 ($206,000 if married and filing jointly) are ineligible.
How to Stay Up to Date
The Colorado Department of Treasury website is the best place to stay up to date on the latest findings with the new program. Hard deadlines haven’t been set yet. The pilot program is set to be released this October, but you can find all updates on the website.
Board Meetings and Resources
You can find a list of the upcoming board meetings for the Colorado Secure Savings Program on the Department of Treasury website.
Are There Alternatives to the Colorado Secure Savings Program?
Employers have options when choosing the right retirement plan for their employees. If you don’t want to handle the Colorado Secure Savings Program or don’t like the unknowns involved, consider an employer-sponsored 401K.
We can help you set up the program, provide your employees with options, including a traditional and Roth 401K, and handle the training to ensure you are 100% up-to-date and understand what you’re offering employees.
The Colorado Secure Savings Program FAQs
How to Leverage the Colorado Secure Savings Program and Its Benefits?
The Colorado Secure Savings Program is meant to help employees save for retirement while taking the burden off employers of offering a program. It isn’t supposed to make anything more difficult for employees, yet the unknown risk can be unsettling for employers.
Who Should Apply to the Secure Savings Program?
Employees who don’t have a retirement plan and whose employer doesn’t offer an employer-sponsored plan should consider applying for the Secure Savings Program. At the very least, they should contribute 5% of their pay to save for the future.
How Can a Business Establish Its Own Retirement Plan?
Financial companies can partner with the Colorado Secure Savings Program to help navigate the new program or offer employer-sponsored plans.
How to Know if Your Colorado Business Qualifies for 401 Tax Credits?
Whether you qualify for 401(K) tax credits depends on the number of employees, highly compensated employees, and the type of 401(K) you offer. Working with a financial company will help you determine if you’re eligible.
Why Is This Program State Mandated?
The state created the Colorado Secure Savings Program to help people who otherwise wouldn’t have money saved for retirement. Not all employers offer 401(K) plans, and this plan is a way to take the burden off employers and still help employees.
The Bottom Line
The Colorado Secure Savings Program is meant to help employees and employers create a successful future. Employees who feel secure in their future are bound to be better employees, and employers who provide for their employees get better employees. While there is still a lot to be determined about the program, we are here to help you every step of the way.