Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Retirement Security Accounts – Focus Groups

The focus groups: EOI contracted with Evans-McDonough to conduct two focus groups on Washington Voluntary Accounts, EOI’s proposal for universal pension access for Washington workers. Participants in both groups were small business owners and managers in King County, one group representing businesses with 5 to 25 employees, the other with 25 to 100 employees. The businesses included a range of professional and service occupations, salary and hourly workers, including a computer company, a wood door manufacturer, a feed store, a real estate agency, an architectural firm, a telephone answering service, and two courier services.

Key findings:

  • One third of the smallest businesses and 4 of 5 of the larger businesses currently had some kind of retirement program for employees.
  • All participants thought that retirement savings programs were important, assigning values between 7 and 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.
  • Businesses that didn’t offer retirement programs cited administrative difficulties, costs for  small companies, difficulties in comparing options, and lack of interest by employees.
  • 17 out of 18 participants supported Washington Voluntary Accounts even if employers were required to make and forward payroll deductions for workers who wanted to participate, 7 with reservations.
  • Particularly attractive aspects of WVAs:
    • transferability for a mobile workforce
    • providing an entry place for younger, less knowledgeable workers
    • low costs and fewer administrative hassles for businesses
    • a range of investment options that are pre-screened
    • giving small businesses a way to fulfill their responsibilities as employers
  • Reservations about WVAs:
    • state mandate (but benefits generally outweighed)
    • skeptical about state government (though also believed state administration  would make program more accessible to workers who needed it most)
    • larger professional firms saw no need for their employees
    • government competition with private companies
  • Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More To Read

May 24, 2024

Report: First Findings from the Legislature’s Wealth Tax Study

What the Department of Revenue has learned exploring wealth tax proposals from other states and countries

May 24, 2024

Why Seattle’s City Council is Considering Delivering Poverty Wages to Gig Workers

Due to corporate pressure, Seattle’s new PayUp ordinance might be rolled back just 6 months after taking effect

May 2, 2024

Baby Bonds: A Step Toward Racial and Economic Equity

The Washington Future Fund would bring this innovative, anti-racist policy to the Evergreen State