These 2 U.S. Regions Are Least Prepared for Retirement

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Residents of some places have better access to -- and are more likely to participate in -- employer-based retirement plans than employees in other parts of the country.

Some states and regions are better off than others when it comes to access to — and participation in — employer-based retirement plans such as a 401(k) or traditional pension, a new report from the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts shows.

John Scott, director of Pew’s retirement savings project, explains in a news release:

“Workplace retirement savings plans can be a critical piece of the retirement security puzzle. But for millions of Americans, this piece is missing.”

For example, Pew found differences of more than 20 percent in rates of both access to and participation in employer-based retirement plans when comparing the state that is in first place — Wisconsin — with the state that finishes last, Florida.

Access rates for full-time, full-year, private sector wage and salary workers ages 18 to 64 in the two states are:

  • Wisconsin: 70 percent
  • 50-state average: 58 percent
  • Florida: 46 percent

Participation rates for full-time, full-year, private sector wage and salary workers ages 18 to 64:

  • Wisconsin: 61 percent
  • 50-state average: 49 percent
  • Florida: 38 percent

The South and West have the lowest access and participation rates. The Midwest, New England and parts of the Pacific Northwest have the highest rates.

The study found that state and regional differences are partly due to certain industries being concentrated in specific areas.

Among the industries that Pew analyzed independently, the leisure and hospitality industry was least likely to provide retirement benefits, with 34 percent of workers offered a plan. It also had one of the lowest industry participation rates, with 23 percent of workers participating in a plan.

Leisure and hospitality jobs are most concentrated in Nevada, Hawaii and Florida.

Employer and worker characteristics also play a role, with Pew finding wide variations based on:

  • Employer industry
  • Worker income
  • Worker age
  • Worker education
  • Worker race and ethnicity

If you’re coming up short in terms of retirement savings, be sure to visit the Money Talks News Solutions Center. There, you can find help with everything from budgeting to savings accounts to brokerages.

What’s your take on the Pew study’s findings about employer-sponsored retirement plans? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

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