Wisconsin State Treasurer, Governor Launch Retirement Task Force

Godlewski Says New Group Will Find Ways To Help Wisconsinites Save More For Retirement

Coins and a dollar bill
Melissa Ingells/WPR

State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski will be leading a new task force to help more Wisconsin residents save for retirement.

The Retirement Security Task Force will explore ways to educate people about retirement programs and create new investment options in the state.

Godlewski said she was shocked to learn how little Wisconsinites have set aside for retirement.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“The typical working age family has $3,000 saved for retirement. That’s it. And we know people can’t live off of Social Security alone. So one of the things we’re trying to understand (is) why is this? Why can’t people save for retirement?” Godlewski said.

She said her office is partnering with Gov. Tony Evers to launch the task force in September. The group plans to meet for a year before proposing new policies to the governor’s office and state lawmakers.

Lisa Lamkins, advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin, said her organization supports the idea of a retirement task force. She said the state needs to take action to help the nearly 1 million Wisconsin workers who don’t have retirement saving options through their employer.

“Social Security is not enough to depend on, so people need to be saving some of their own money. There are these programs that are public-private partnerships that can help people save their own money so they are not dependent on safety net programs down the road,” Lamkins said.

Creating a state-run retirement savings program, like a public Roth IRA, she said, would even the playing field for employees of small businesses or people who are self-employed.

“This is something that people would be able to do regardless of where they live, regardless of who they work for,” Lamkins said. “I think this would be a real boon to workers in our rural areas.”

Godlewski said she specifically invited farmers to a recent listening session in La Crosse to better understand their retirement challenges.

“We know farmers are struggling, whether it’s with the trade wars or with what’s going on with the economy and commodity prices. And so we wanted to get first hand from them, you know, are you worried about retirement? What keeps you up at night?” Godlewski said.

The task force will consider the way other states have used public Roth IRA programs and how the state can better educate residents about the difference between savings options, according to Godlewski.