Donna Skemp of Bend, Ore., struggled to save before she signed up for an automatic savings plan offered by her employer’s payroll services company. Now, some of her pay goes into a federally insured, interest-paying savings account that she can access any time with a debit card.
“It’s painless, and it’s so easy,” says Skemp, accounting and office manager for the nonprofit Every Kid Sports, which pays sports registration fees for children from low-income families.
Skemp is lucky — more than one-third of private-sector workers don’t have access to workplace savings plans via payroll deduction. Many small-business owners may think such plans are too expensive or complicated to administer. But that’s not necessarily so.
PAYROLL DEDUCTION MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Americans don’t save nearly enough for emergencies or retirement, but we’re more likely to save if the money is automatically deducted from our paychecks. People are much more likely to contribute to a retirement plan, for example, if they’re offered payroll deductions, according to AARP’s Public Policy Institute. In addition, 7 of 10 working adults say they probably would participate in an emergency savings program via payroll deduction if their employer offered it.
Unfortunately, the smaller the business, the less likely it is to offer a workplace savings plan. In the past, that made sense, because the cost of setting up and administering these plans could be high. Technology and competition have lowered costs in recent years, however. Some startups and robo-advisors have been targeting the small-business 401(k) market, as have some large investment companies. Costs vary, but they don’t have to be exorbitant: JPMorgan Chase, for example, recently announced a workplace plan for small businesses with monthly charges that start at $75 a month plus $5 per participant.