These 9 States Want to Increase Your Retirement Savings Automatically

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Young couple looking over their finances
Andrey_Popov /

Saving for retirement can be difficult. But a handful of states are trying to make the process easier for their citizens.

Currently, three states have laws that require private companies that do not offer a retirement plan to automatically enroll their workers in individual retirement accounts (IRAs), according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Workers are allowed to opt out of the effort if they so choose. But employees who do not opt out will get a helping hand in building their retirement savings.

Six other states have similar legislation in the pipeline, the CRR reports. Following are the states making an extra effort to get you started on the road to your golden years by mandating automatic IRA enrollment.


Salem, Oregon
James Curzio /

OregonSaves has been in place since July 2017, making Oregon the first state to require employers who don’t offer a workplace retirement plan to automatically enroll workers in IRAs.

To date, the program has 7,479 participating employers and 108,670 worker accounts. OregonSaves starts with a default 5% contribution rate, which then increases 1 percentage point a year until it reaches 10%.


Illinois Capitol
Donald Walker /

Illinois’ auto-IRA program , Illinois Secure Choice, applies to all companies that are at least 2 years old and have 25 or more employees. It went live in 2018. Currently, the Illinois program has 2,837 participating employers and 90,043 worker accounts.

The default contribution rate is 5%, with no automatic escalation of that amount over time.


California Capitol building in Sacramento
SnapASkyline /

California’s auto-IRA program, CalSavers, requires employers with no retirement plan and five or more employees to automatically enroll workers in IRAs.

The program initially rolled out in January 2019 and will have a full rollout in June 2022. To date, California has 4,312 participating employers and 158,335 worker accounts.

The default contribution rate is 5%, with an automatic escalation of 1 percentage point per year until the contribution rate reaches 8%.

6 states with auto-IRAs in the works

Woman with piggy bank /

A growing number of states have legislation in the works that would require employers who don’t offer a retirement plan to enroll their workers into IRAs automatically. The Center for Retirement Research reports that these states include:

  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • Colorado
  • Virginia
  • Maine

In all of these states, mandatory automatic-IRA legislation has been passed, but the rollout period for each state’s auto-IRA program has yet to be determined.

For more on building a foundation for retirement, check out “7 Ways to Save for Retirement Without a 401(k).”

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