Comptroller Sean Scanlan visited several businesses on Park Road in West Hartford on Tuesday to discuss the state’s new retirement program.
By Ronni Newton
Thursday is the deadline for Connecticut businesses with five or more employees to either register with a state-run program that provides workers with the opportunity to participate in a retirement savings plan, or demonstrate that they are already offering a retirement plan, and Comptroller Sean Scanlon, visited several businesses along West Hartford’s Park Road on Tuesday to discuss the MyCTSavings program.
“What’s the downside?” asked Greg Confessore, owner of Cricket Press – a 43-year-old family-owned business.
“There’s not any,” Scanlon responded.
While registration with MyCTSavings is required by Aug. 31, there is no obligation on the part of any of the employees to participate in the program – which offers retirement savings to private sector employees through Roth Individual Retirement Accounts – and there is no cost to employers for the program run by the Office of the Comptroller.
CTNewsJunkie.com reported on Aug. 21 that as of that date, the Office of the Comptroller had estimated that roughly 62% of the initially-notified eligible businesses had responded. “That does not include around 11,000 new or growing employers who were notified in early August that they now fell under the program’s requirements,” the report said.
Three Ladies Antiques was one of the businesses Scanlon visited on Tuesday, and Amy Manise was interested to hear more about the program.
Across the street, Steben’s Auto Body said they already offer employees a 401K program. “We just want to make sure everyone has access to retirement,” said Scanlon. He’s personally committed to the program, noting that his mother is a small business owner who didn’t have access to a retirement savings program.
Two of the businesses visited – Playhouse on Park and AC Petersen Farms – were already enrolled in MyCTSavings.
“I have been talking it up,” said AC Petersen owner Catherine Denton, who has owned the 109-year-old business for the past 25 years. Staff has been slow to embrace the idea, however.
Scanlon admitted that it’s been difficult to create effective messaging about the program to target restaurant staff, who comprise a large portion of employees who would be eligible for the program.
He said if a young server, who earns $50,000 a year, invested even the minimum of 3% in the program, by the time they retire that could grow to $350,000 which would not be enough to fund retirement, but would certainly make a difference.
Mayor Shari Cantor, Town Council members Carol Anderson Blanks and Tiffani McGinnis, Town Manager Rick Ledwith, and Economic Development Coordinator Kristen Gorski, as well as Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Conway, Director of Development and Programs Kate Kobs, and Park Road Association Co-Presidents Tracy Flater and John Paindiris also participated in the walking tour of the local businesses.
More information about MyCTSavings can be found on the website.
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