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A bill moving through the Legislature could help people save for retirement

A bill is moving through the Arizona Legislature that could help workers save for their retirement. 

It’s called the work-and-save program, and it would let people who don’t have access to a retirement savings account at work, like a 401(k), to still contribute to some type of fund.

"One of the problems that we've seen is that people who retire with just Social Security can retire into poverty, is becoming a phrase. And our goal here is to help those who may be able to save a little bit, but maybe they can't do it through their employer," said Brendon Blake, associate state director of advocacy with AARP Arizona.

Blake says the program would be voluntary for both the business and the employee. 

"At present, there are only three states that have implemented the program," said Blake. "Those are Oregon, California and Illinois. And there are 14 other states that have passed legislation and are in the implementation phase, it usually takes a few years."

The bill passed through the finance committee with bipartisan support. 

Blake says many older adults retire with just their Social Security and no real savings beyond that, and that can lead to increased poverty rates later in life. 

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.