Automating Savings in the Workplace

Policy Paper
Jan. 15, 2010

The AutoSave model — in which employers help facilitate automatic contributions to unrestricted savings, and employees are actively encouraged to sign up using a simplified enrollment process — is largely untested. Unlike most existing workplace saving programs, which focus on building retirement assets, AutoSave savings are intended to be fully liquid and available both to cover short-term needs and, potentially, to increase attachment to mainstream financial services or serve as building blocks to longer-term asset accumulation. In fall 2009, six employers began participating in the AutoSave pilot. This paper begins with a short overview of the AutoSave concept, describes the initiative’s phased pilot approach, summarizes operational components — including the behaviorally-informed design elements — and concludes with early observations from the pilot’s launch and initial insights for policy development.

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