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What You Need to Know About the Colorado SecureSavings Program

According to ADP, 14 states have state-sponsored mandatory retirement programs, and over 30 states have discussions around mandated programs into legislation.

With this trend, more than half of US states could have a state-sponsored retirement program in the coming years. It is important to start understanding how these programs could affect you and your employees. The start of these programs is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for an added emphasis on saving. There are benefits, but there are also some areas these state programs will not address. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about state-sponsored programs through the lens of the Colorado SecureSavings Program.

The Colorado SecureSavings Program was passed and enacted into law, and the pilot program started this October. Employers must comply with the new guidelines in 2023. The Colorado SecureSavings Board created this program because, in Colorado, more than 40% of workers do not have access to a retirement saving plan, which equates to around 940,000 workers. This is an underrepresented group of people, just like much of the country, and this program aims to create a simplified solution.

What is the Colorado SecureSavings Program?

The Colorado SecureSavings program is a retirement saving program aimed at helping employees gain access to a savings vehicle and start saving for retirement. The Colorado Department of the Treasury describes the program as follows:

Colorado SecureSavings gives businesses a convenient way to help employees save for their future. Employer-sponsored retirement plans can help improve worker satisfaction, increase productivity, and reduce employee stress.
— The Colorado Department of the Treasury

Who is Required?

All businesses that fit the requirements below must either have their own employer-sponsored plan or implement the Colorado SecureSavings Program.

  1. Have at least five employees
  2. Have been active for more than two years
  3. Do not already have a retirement savings plan

This criterion is very easy to meet. Therefore, a high percentage of companies will now be required to offer a retirement savings plan for the first time. Those companies are stepping into uncharted waters, which can seem overwhelming and daunting. The SecureSavings Program may be a solution, but navigating that solution in the right way is important.

It's important to clarify that if you offer a qualified retirement program, you are not required to use the Colorado SecureSavings Program. If you have five or more employees and offer a plan that meets the requirements, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), you are not required to switch to the state-sponsored option.

How to Comply

As an Employer, you must register your business as having a qualified retirement plan. You will be notified (by mail or email) by Colorado SecureSavings when it’s time for your business to register. This correspondence will have the necessary code needed to register. Whether you opt into the Colorado SecureSavings plan or offer your own plan that qualifies, you need to notify the state by using that emailed access code and registering on the Colorado SecureSavings website. For more information on how to comply, please go to

Are there any Deadlines and Penalties for Non-Compliance?

Yes, and penalties can be severe. Employers can face a penalty for non-compliance, such as failure to enroll eligible employees, of $100 per eligible employee per year, up to a max of $5,000 annually. Colorado requires all businesses that meet the requirement above to comply starting in January 2023. Now is the time to make the necessary changes so you will not be penalized.

Is the Colorado Secure Act Right for Your Business?

While this is a step in the right direction, the Colorado SecureSavings Program and other state-mandated programs are less flexible and customizable to fit your employees' needs, unlike other employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401k, 403b, pension, etc. Setting up a fully customized solution with a retirement plan adviser brings advantages in that you can add services or opt-out of others that would not be as helpful for your employees.

A customized solution can be more cost-effective because you can be more direct and efficient with the services you have in your plan. For example, an employer population of younger employees might be more interested in a flexible saving plan or Roth savings option. In contrast, an older population may be more interested in HSA solutions.

Knowing your employees and their needs is essential to success. This approach allows you to connect with your employees more directly and give them the resources they are looking for instead of just an overarching band-aid approach. If you are interested in learning more about how to set up a retirement plan that would comply with the standards of state-mandated programs like Colorado, please reach out to a Retirement Plan Adviser Today!

Want to learn more about how you can help your employees save? Check out this recent blog post: How to Help Employees Save for Retirement and Plan for the Future.

Investment Advice offered through OneDigital Investment Advisors, an SEC-registered investment adviser and a wholly owned subsidiary of OneDigital.