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What’s the Cost of the Retirement Coverage Gap?

Industry Trends and Research

According to a new state-by-state analysis[1] published by the American Retirement Association, more than 5 million employers in the United States still don’t offer a workplace retirement savings benefit, a generation after the 401(k) plan design was first introduced. 

When a 401(k) is available, 78% of American workers who earn between $30,000 and $50,000 a year take advantage of the opportunity. Today more than 80 million Americans are already participating in a retirement plan where they work.

However, data also shows that workers who earn between $30,000 and $50,000 a year are 12 times more likely to save at work than on their own.[2] But today more than 28 million full-time workers don’t have an opportunity to save for retirement in a 401(k) – and that doesn’t include more than 23 million part-time workers who don’t have that opportunity. 

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act can help close that gap – by helping employers provide retirement plan access by:

  • Significantly increasing the employer tax credit for starting a new retirement plan from the current cap of $500 to $5,000.
  • Allowing employers to join a pooled employer plan, potentially lowering plan costs and administrative burdens.
  • Helping ensure more part-time employees can contribute to an employer provided retirement plan.

You can see the impact on both a national and state-by-state basis at And you can reach out to your Senator(s) and encourage them to help close the retirement plan coverage gap by supporting the SECURE Act today!


1. Fact sheets detailing the national and state-by-state impact is available at

2. Vanguard, How America Saves 2018 (DC plan participation), EBRI estimate based on 2014 IRS SOI tabulation (IRA-only participation).



All comments
Mike Sladky
3 weeks 5 days ago
This; "no retirement plan access" to workers is a big ruse. All wage earners can save in an IRA (aka individual retirement account). IRAs have been around for a long time. Have a nice day.
3 weeks 4 days ago
Mike, not a ruse. Granted, individuals CAN go online, or walk down to their local financial institution and open an IRA. Except that they don't. But when they have access to a plan at work they do - and at modest income levels, they are TWELVE TIMES more likely to do so. Coverage levels have stagnated for a generation. Arguably it's time we do something to break that logjam, the way that automatic enrollment transformed 70% participation rates to 95%.