Washington Retirement Marketplace offers small business owners and individuals a simple way to shop for state-verified, low-fee retirement savings plans

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced the nation’s first online portal where businesses and individuals can comparison shop for low-cost, state-verified retirement savings plans. The Retirement Marketplace at www.retirementmarketplace.com  was created to help approximately 2 million Washingtonians who do not have access to retirement savings plans through the workplace.

About 131,000 Washington businesses, most of them small businesses, don’t offer retirement plans to employees. Small businesses struggle to offer retirement savings plans because of their cost and complexity.

“Access to affordable retirement savings plans should be available to everyone, especially small businesses and workers in today’s gig economy. I am proud that Washington state is leading the way with the nation’s first voluntary, online Retirement Marketplace,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.

“As a small business owner myself, I firmly believe that many, if not most, want to offer competitive benefits for employees, but the complexity and fees can make it cost-prohibitive to do so,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), sponsor of SB 5826  that created the marketplace in 2015. “That’s why my colleagues and I supported the idea of a small business retirement marketplace. We want to make it easier to shop for private plans from providers who share our commitment to help people save for retirement.”

Each plan listed on the Retirement Marketplace meets strict criteria established by the Washington State Legislature:

  • Must first be reviewed by officials at the Department of Financial Institutions and/or the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
  • Cannot charge administrative fees to employers.
  • Cannot charge enrollees more than 1 percent in total annual administrative fees.
  • Must go through an annual renewal process to ensure the plan and provider remain in good standing.

Participation in the Retirement Marketplace is voluntary for both employers and employees. The Department of Commerce administers the Retirement Marketplace, but enrollment takes place with the private retirement plan provider. The state does not collect personally identifiable information from site users.

People with access to a retirement plan at work are 15 times more likely to save.

“Successful businesses know the value of saving for the future and helping their employees do the same,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “When people have a solid financial foundation, it lifts up the entire economy, strengthening communities by helping more workers participate and prosper.”

“The Retirement Marketplace provides an efficient way for employers to help their workers save for retirement.  It’s easy to sign up, costs very little to manage and allows employees to carry their savings from job to job, even if they move out of the state,” said AARP Washington State Director Doug Shadel. “In addition, the marketplace can help older adults catch up on saving for retirement. If a 55-year-old started saving now, they could add thousands of dollars to their retirement accounts in just 10 years.”

Anyone can use the Retirement Marketplace to learn more about how to make the most of saving for the future. The website offers unique shopping pathways for businesses and individuals – including self-employed, part-time and temporary “gig” workers and people with traditional jobs.

The site is launching with five types of 401k plans offered by Saturna Trust Company, with no administrative fees charged to Washington employers who access these plans from the Retirement Marketplace.

The site also lists Roth and traditional IRAs from Finhabits. More plans from other providers will be added to the Retirement Marketplace in the future.

To learn more about the Retirement Marketplace and find low-cost plans, please visit www.retirementmarketplace.com.

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