Colorado Secure Savings Program: Everything You Need to Know

Are you a small business owner in Colorado, finding it tricky to offer retirement benefits to your team? You’re not alone.

Many employers want to help their employees save for the future but are often discouraged by complex options and financial terms that might as well be another language.

Luckily, there’s a new program on the block – the Colorado Secure Savings Program – designed to make retirement savings straightforward and accessible.

A group of people standing in front of a wall with the words secure savings, showcasing the Colorado Secure Savings Program.

Did you know that this program may soon give nearly a million workers in Colorado without an employer-provided retirement plan a chance to start saving?

That’s right! This article breaks down everything you need to know about the program: from how it works and what it means for employers, to alternatives if this doesn’t quite fit your business needs.

We’ll guide you through each step so setting up retirement planning is stress-free. Ready for peace of mind about the future?

Read on and find out how easy it can be!

Key Takeaways

  • The Colorado Secure Savings Program is a new way for workers to save money. Starting in 2023, employees are automatically signed up unless they say no. They can choose how much to save from their paycheck.
  • Businesses with five or more employees have to join the program or face fines of up to $5,000 per year. They might get tax benefits for setting it up and adding money to employee accounts.
  • Employers can look at other plans too, like private 401(k)s or Simple IRAs, before deciding on the state program. Each has different rules and perks that could fit better with different businesses.
  • The program’s savings rate starts at 5% of an employee’s pay but will increase by 1% each January until it reaches 8%, unless the worker chooses differently.
  • Comparing retirement options helps employers see which one fits best. This includes looking at things like how much you can put in and what responsibilities the employer has.

Understanding the Colorado Secure Savings Program

The Colorado Secure Savings Program makes it easy for workers to save money for when they stop working.

People can put a part of their paycheck into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that grows over time.

This plan is good if your boss doesn’t give you a retirement plan.

Workers are put in the program without needing to do anything and have 30 days to choose not to join or change how much money they want to save or where it’s invested.

Every year in January, the amount saved will go up a little by itself until it reaches 8 percent of what they earn unless they decide something different.

This brings us to who can join this savings program.

Eligibility Criteria for the Colorado Secure Savings Program

Now that you know about the Colorado Secure Savings Program, let’s talk about who can join.

If you are 18 or older and have worked in Colorado for at least six months, you could be part of this program.

It doesn’t matter what kind of job you do; if your boss has five or more workers and has been doing business for at least two years but does not offer a retirement plan, they need to set up this savings program.

Your employer will sign you up on their own. But if you don’t want to save with this plan, no problem! You have a whole month to say “no thanks” or change how much money goes into your account.

Plus, you get to pick where your money is invested and who gets it if something happens to you.

Remember, saving for later is important and now Colorado makes it easier for more people to work there.

How the Colorado Secure Savings Program Works

Saving for retirement just got easier in Colorado. The Colorado Secure Savings Program helps employees put money aside for their future.

  • First, employers sign up for the program and add their employees’ information.
  • Next, employees are automatically enrolled unless they decide not to join within 30 days.
  • A part of each paycheck goes into an employee’s retirement account through payroll deductions.
  • Employees can choose how much money they want to save from their paychecks. If they don’t choose, 5% of their pay is saved automatically.
  • They also pick where their savings go by choosing from different investment options.
  • Workers can change how much they save or where the money goes at any time.
  • Every January, the amount saved will go up by 1%. This keeps going until it reaches 8%. But employees can change this if they want to.
  • Money in the account grows over time. It might grow slowly or quickly, depending on the investment choices made.
  • Once set up, employees watch their savings grow with each paycheck and feel good about saving for the years after they stop working.

Deadlines and Details of Colorado Secure Savings Program

As we look at how employees will save for retirement, let’s discuss the important dates and rules of the Colorado Secure Savings Program.

Employers need to sign up for the program as soon as it starts in 2023.

They must give their workers’ payroll info so people can join. Workers then get put into the savings plan right away.

Employees are given a month to make changes or leave the plan if they want. Each year in January, what they put in goes up by one percent until it hits eight percent, but they can choose to change this if they wish.

Businesses that don’t join could have to pay money as a fine. So it’s key for employers to know these details and act on time!

Implications for Employers

The Colorado Secure Savings Program brings a new layer of involvement for businesses, mandating action to help workers save for retirement while potentially navigating financial incentives and administrative responsibilities.

Employer administrative burden

Employers in Colorado have new tasks because of the Colorado Secure Savings Program. They need to sign up their business and get payroll details ready for workers to join. This means ensuring money gets taken out of each worker’s pay correctly and sent to the program.

Keeping track of who wants to save more or less is also a job for employers. They must change how much money they take out when an employee changes his or her savings amount.

Bosses have to stay on top of these updates so that everything runs smoothly with the retirement savings plan.

Employer tax benefits

Companies get special perks if they help their workers save for later life. If you have 5-25 employees, your business might get a $300 grant when you start a retirement plan like the Colorado Secure Savings Program.

This is like a thank-you gift for offering this benefit to your team. There are also tax credits from SECURE Act 2.0 that can lower how much in taxes the company has to pay if it sets up a retirement plan and adds money to employee accounts.

Getting these tax benefits can make businesses more eager to help their workers save money for when they retire.

The sun is shining on a snow covered mountain in Colorado.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

If you run a business with more than 5 workers in Colorado and don’t join the Colorado Secure Savings Program, it could cost you. You might have to pay $100 for each person who works for you, every year.

This money adds up fast! The most you’d have to pay is $5000 each year.

Now, if your business doesn’t follow these rules, the state can keep asking you to pay that fine every year. That’s money that could be helping your employees save for when they stop working.

It’s important to think about this so everyone wins: your workers get ready for retirement, and you avoid losing money through fines.

Alternatives to the Colorado Secure Savings Program

Colorado businesses have choices when it comes to helping their workers save for retirement. Instead of the Colorado Secure Savings Program, they can offer different plans that might fit their company better.

  • Choose a private 401(k) plan: Employers may set up a 401(k), which is a popular retirement plan allowing both employer and employee contributions. These plans often let workers save more money each year than a Roth IRA.
  • Look into PlanMember’s Pooled Employer Plan (PEP): This option works well for smaller companies. It groups them together, which can lower costs and make managing the plan easier.
  • Consider a Simple IRA: Small businesses might find Simple IRAs to be less complicated. They allow companies with fewer than 100 employees to offer retirement benefits without too much paperwork or high fees.
  • Explore SEP IRAs for self-employed individuals or small business owners: SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension. It’s another choice that can be simpler to manage than traditional pension plans or 401(k)s.
  • Offer a Roth 401(k): Some employers might pick this type of plan because it mixes features from Roth IRAs and 401(k)s. Workers can put in money after paying taxes so they don’t pay taxes later when they take out their savings.

The Impact on Colorado Small Businesses

Small businesses in Colorado will see big changes because of the new savings program. They must start helping their workers save for later years if they have five or more people working for them and have been around at least two years.

This could mean extra work as they learn to set up these retirement accounts and take money out of paychecks correctly. But it’s not all hard stuff – they might get tax benefits that help their business too.

If a small business doesn’t follow the rules, it could end up costing them money in fines. So, while there’s more to do, following the program can keep them out of trouble and show that they care about their team’s future.

Comparing Colorado Secure Savings with Other Retirement Plans

The impact of the Colorado Secure Savings Program on small businesses leads us directly to consider how it stacks up against other retirement plans available. Let’s take a closer look at the comparisons in the table below:

FeatureColorado Secure Savings ProgramPlanMember Pooled Employer Plan (PEP)Traditional 401(k)
Program TypeState-facilitated IRAPooled Employer PlanEmployer-sponsored retirement plan
Contribution Limits (2023/2024)Up to $7,000 (2023)Up to $23,000 ($30,500 for 50 and older) in 2024Up to $20,500 ($27,000 for 50 and older) in 2023
Eligibility RequirementsAll employees in participating Colorado businessesVaries by employerTypically set by employer; often includes age and service criteria
Investment OptionsLimited, determined by state programDiverse, managed by professional financial servicesVaried, selected by employer and plan provider
Employer ResponsibilitiesFacilitate the program; no employer contributions requiredAdopt the plan; may include employer contributionsAdminister plan; typically includes employer contributions
Tax BenefitsPotential state tax deduction for participantsEmployer may receive tax benefits for contributionsEmployer and employee tax benefits; employer contribution deductions
Roll-over OptionsPermitted to roll over into other IRAs or plansPermits roll-overs into and out of the planGenerally allows roll-overs into and out of the plan
Administrative BurdenMinimal; state manages most facetsVaries; generally lower due to pooled resourcesHigher; employer responsible for significant administration

Comparing these retirement options reveals distinct differences in contribution limits, employer responsibilities, and investment choices. Each plan has unique features that may suit different business sizes and employee needs.


Are you ready to help your people save for the future? Offering a good retirement plan is key. Think about the Colorado Secure Savings Program if you’re in Colorado. It’s set up to be easy and helpful for everyone.

Ask yourself, how can this program make things better at my business? Let’s get started and make saving for retirement simple for our workers!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Colorado Secure Savings Program?

A: The Colorado Secure Savings Program is a state-mandated retirement savings program that provides an alternative for employees in Colorado to save for retirement.

Q: Who is eligible for the Colorado Secure Savings Program?

A: Colorado employees who work for eligible employers and have been with the employer for at least 180 days are eligible to participate in the program.

Q: What is the purpose of the Colorado Secure Savings Program?

A: The program aims to provide employees in Colorado with access to a retirement savings plan at work, especially for those who do not already have a retirement savings plan through their employer.

Q: What are the benefits of participating in the Colorado Secure Savings Program?

A: By participating in the program, employees can contribute a portion of their taxable wages to a retirement savings account, which can help them save for their retirement while enjoying potential tax benefits.

Q: What is a qualified retirement savings plan?

A: A qualified retirement savings plan, such as the Colorado Secure Savings Program, meets specific requirements set by the state and offers a tax-advantaged way for employees to save for retirement.

Q: What are the requirements for employers to participate in the Colorado Secure Savings Program?

A: Eligible employers in Colorado must offer a qualified retirement savings plan to their employees and contribute at least 100 per eligible employee per year to the program.

Q: How does the Colorado Secure Savings Program benefit employees?

A: Employees can make contributions to the program through payroll deductions, providing them with a convenient and automatic way to save for retirement.

Q: Can employees who already have a retirement savings plan at work participate in the Colorado Secure Savings Program?

A: Employees who have access to a retirement savings plan at work can still participate in the program if they meet the eligibility criteria and wish to contribute to an additional retirement savings account.

Q: Is the Colorado Secure Savings Program similar to a Roth individual retirement account (IRA)?

A: While the program shares some similarities with a Roth IRA, it is specifically designed to provide an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan for employees in Colorado.

Q: What is the process for employers to enroll in the Colorado Secure Savings Program?

A: The program requires businesses in Colorado to register with the state and fulfill certain obligations to offer the program to their employees, ensuring compliance with the state-mandated retirement plans.


  • Patty Jones

    Patty Jones is a highly regarded financial writer with a passion for simplifying complex financial topics and delivering valuable insights to readers worldwide. Her journey in the world of finance began in a small town in the Midwest, where she developed an early fascination with money management and investing.

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