Connecticut Comptroller Sean Scanlon stopped by West Haven Chicken on Whitney Avenue in New Haven to speak with one of the owners and continue his campaign to raise awareness among Connecticut businesses about Connecticut’s state-run retirement savings program, called MyCTSavings.
It was Scanlon’s third stop of six that day that brought him from Norwalk through Bridgeport, New Haven, Meriden, New Britain and finally Bloomfield, stopping into small businesses that have registered with MyCTSavings and whose employees have enrolled in the Roth-IRA program now offered by the state.
And this is not the first whirlwind tour Scanlon has embarked upon. The Comptroller has toured businesses in Middletown and Danbury, held discussions with the Council of Small Towns (COST) and local chambers of commerce, trying to increase business registrations ahead of a March 30 deadline.
Scanlon says the push is generating more interest, more business registrations and more employee accounts opened in the MyCTSavings program, numbers he says they track daily.
“We’re seeing a huge surge of people doing it,” Scanlon said. “Part of why I’m doing this today blitzing the state is to draw attention the fact that this deadline is coming.”
“The program has been around a long time, but it’s really sort of entering the consciousness of the state in the last couple weeks,” Scanlon continued. “I’ve been trying to get out there as much as a I can to raise awareness. Going to places like this today are fun for me.”
“It’s something I’ve always been a big proponent of, especially with my team, is setting themselves up for financial security,” said co-owner of West Haven Chicken Craig Sklar. “I’ve always been encouraging them to put money into savings, open up a Roth-IRA, so when this came around it was a no-brainer.”
To date, 1,821 businesses have enrolled in the program with 9,037 employee accounts and $2.9 million in assets thus far. The latest numbers show nearly 600 more businesses and 700 new employees have enrolled in less than a month. Assets in MyCTSavings have increased by $500,000 during that time period.
MyCTSavings was created to provide employees without access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan with retirement savings through a Roth-IRA managed by a third-party company called Vestwell.
The employee savings are made through an automatic payroll deduction and businesses with five or more employees that do not offer a retirement plan will have their employees automatically enrolled in the program. Businesses do not have to contribute money into the program.
As of February, 18,000 businesses in Connecticut had not registered for the program and Scanlon has repeatedly said that he wants to work proactively with businesses to get them to register and determine whether their employees will need to be enrolled in MyCTSavings. Failure to register with the state could result in penalties down the road.
Employees enrolled into MyCTSavings can opt out, if they like, but Sklar says his company, which has been expanding with multiple locations, signed up in the beginning of 2022 and that so far most of his employees have remained in the program.
“Our generation, the generation behind us, they don’t have any financial literacy and that’s why I think this program is so cool for us to go around, as the younger generation generates jobs, and get people to care about it,” Scanlon said. “Some of the younger people we’ve met are like ‘why do I have to save now? I’m in my twenties, I’m working.’ But if you don’t start now…
“You’re going to be working in your 80s,” Sklar said, completing Scanlon’s sentence.