An elderly couple on a park bench enjoy their retirement years.When the economy is chugging along on all eight cylinders, it can be difficult for small businesses to attract and retain top talent. Bigger companies have an advantage, being able to offer perks that up until now weren’t affordable or even available to small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups.

With this in mind, the Department of Commerce created the Retirement Marketplace. Here, business owners and employees can sign up for affordable retirement savings plans. For small businesses, non-profits and associations, there are no administrative fees and the setup is noth easy and straightforward.

It’s a win-win all around. Employees get to save for their retirement in a plan that gives them full control, right down to the amount they set aside each month. Employers get to offer a highly valued employee benefit that is simple to manage and if the employer decides to offer a dollar or percent match, can save some money when tax time rolls around.

Studies show that people with a retirement savings plan at work are 15 times more likely to save than those who do not, but only about half of workers in Washington have access to a plan through their employer. More important, employees who have benefits like a retirement plan are more likely to stay with their employer.

“Employers that offer a retirement savings plan benefit are more competitive in recruiting and retaining the best employees,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “The Retirement Marketplace removes barriers and allows easy access to retirement savings plans for business owners and workers. When people are better prepared to live comfortably in retirement, it strengthens communities and local economies.”

For employees, the plan’s fees are capped at 1% in total annual fees, or $10 a year on a $1,000 balance. The Retirement Marketplace has IRA and 401(k) plans. Prospective enrollees can compare plans at their leisure. Once a plan is selected, the individual works directly with the financial services company that offers the selected plan. The state doesn’t collect any personal information or data.

Visit to explore options for your business or yourself and help spread the word about this valuable resource in your community.