As of June 2024, Washington has passed retirement legislation and is in the process of implementing Washington Saves, a program that will likely launch in 2027.

A sizeable portion of the workforce in Washington does not have access to a retirement savings plan. These individuals run the risk of living their retirement years in diminished standards or depending greatly on public assistance programs. To prevent such a crisis, the state created a retirement marketplace that makes it easy for small businesses and individuals to find retirement plans that fit their budgets and their savings goals.

What is the Washington Small Business Retirement Marketplace?

The Retirement Marketplace is a virtual hub where a variety of affordable retirement savings plans are available for purchase from qualified financial providers. The website allows small business owners to compare plan options and connect with administrators so they can make an informed choice.

What businesses qualify to participate in the Retirement Marketplace?

Small businesses in Washington that have less than 100 employees may use the Retirement Marketplace. The site is also open to sole proprietors and self-employed individuals.

What plans are available through the Washington State Retirement Marketplace?

Depending on if they’re purchasing a retirement plan as an employer or an individual, Marketplace users may be able to choose from the following:

  • Traditional individual retirement account (IRA)
  • Roth IRA
  • Traditional 401(k)
  • Auto enrollment 401(k)
  • Safe harbor 401(k)
  • Solo 401(k)
  • Profit-sharing plan

What criteria must plans listed on the Washington Retirement Marketplace meet?

Only retirement plans that are verified to be in good standing and approved by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions or the Office of the Insurance Commissioner are listed on the Marketplace. To meet the criteria, plan providers must:

  • Waive administrative fees for employers
  • Undergo a renewal process each year
  • Limit annual fees for enrollees to 1% of account balances
  • Offer a target date or similar fund and a balanced fund
  • Provide reports on historical investment performance
  • Allow participants to roll pretax contributions into another eligible plan

How does the Washington Retirement Marketplace work?

Employers and individuals can find a low-cost retirement plan through the Marketplace by following these simple steps:

  1. Compare different plans side by side and learn about key features
  2. Select the most ideal plan and provide basic information to the provider
  3. Customize the plan to meet specific needs with input from the provider
  4. Complete the remaining enrollment forms and begin saving

How does participating in the Retirement Marketplace benefit small businesses?

The Marketplace is ideal for small businesses because it helps them offer retirement benefits at minimal costs. There are no administrative fees and employer contributions to the savings plans are generally tax deductible. In addition, those who join a program through the Marketplace may find that they’re able to:

  • Attract new talent and retain valued employees
  • Stand out amongst competitors
  • Decrease absenteeism and turnover
  • Improve workplace productivity

Are there drawbacks to participating in the Washington State Retirement Marketplace?

Plans available through the Retirement Marketplace tend to be more expensive than those available through other providers, like ADP. Many have recurring annual fees, which may not seem like much at first, but can quickly add up over time. Employers should weigh their options carefully before choosing a plan.

Frequently asked questions about the Retirement Marketplace

Is the Washington State Retirement Marketplace a mandated retirement plan?

Participation in the Retirement Marketplace is voluntary. As the name implies, it is an online market where small business owners and individuals can shop for retirement programs with no obligation to purchase.

How does the Washington Small Business Retirement Marketplace impact employers?

Small business owners who previously found it too expensive to sponsor retirement benefits may now be able to offer their employees valuable savings opportunities through the Retirement Marketplace. It charges no fees to employers and is designed to make administration as easy as possible.

This information is intended to be used as a starting point in analyzing retirement plans and is not a comprehensive resource of all requirements. It offers practical information concerning the subject matter and is provided with the understanding that ADP is not rendering legal or tax advice or other professional services.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing with a client, ADP, Inc. and its affiliates (ADP) do not endorse or recommend specific investment companies or products, financial advisors or service providers; engage or compensate any financial advisor or firm for the provision of advice; offer financial, investment, tax or legal advice or management services; or serve in a fiduciary capacity with respect to retirement plans. All ADP companies identified are affiliated companies.

ADP Editorial Team

ADP Editorial Team The ADP editorial team is comprised of human resource professionals with extensive experience solving complex HR challenges for businesses of all sizes.