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Oregon retirement savings program adds individual workers

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Retirement Savings Board and State Treasurer Tobias Read announced Tuesday that the OregonSaves retirement program now allows individual Oregonians, such as self-employed or gig economy workers, to join and start saving for a better retirement.

OregonSaves began with a pilot program in July 2017 and is expanding statewide in waves. Since the first wave of the program launched in November 2017, tens of thousands of workers — most of them first time savers — have set aside more than $9 million towards retirement, according to the Oregon treasurer's news release, which continues below: 

Individual Oregonians will now have the opportunity to join the ranks of the more than 45,000 employees that have already enrolled through a facilitating employer and are saving for their future retirement needs.

“OregonSaves is now open to anyone who would like to participate,” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. “We’re building on our past successes to provide a simple and convenient way for Oregonians to save for their retirement. Long-term financial security for all Oregonians will put our state on a path to a more prosperous and stable future.”

OregonSaves offers Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that are designed to be mobile—staying with you throughout your career and ensuring that what you save will always be your money and under your control. Individuals can sign themselves up right now at saver.oregonsaves.com. They can choose to save as little as $5 per month through automatic contributions from their bank accounts or through payroll deduction, and can choose from a simple menu of investment options. The sign up process is fast and easy.

Oregon workers will continue to be enrolled automatically in OregonSaves if their employer facilitates the program. Oregon employers that do not offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan for their workers are joining the OregonSaves program in waves. The deadline for the next wave, for employers with 20 or more employees, is December 15, 2018. The program will be fully implemented by the end of 2020.

The retirement savings gap in America is estimated to be at least $6.8 trillion and growing, and more than half of workers have saved nothing, according to the National Institute for Retirement Security. In Oregon, an estimated 1 million workers lack access to a work-based retirement plan. At the same time, according to research from AARP, people are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if there is the ability to do so at work.

Policymakers established OregonSaves to address the retirement savings crisis for Oregonians falling in the gap, understanding that for most of us, it’s likely that Social Security payments won't be enough when it comes time to retire.

“With stylists, usually they don’t retire—they don’t have a retirement,” said Molly Finster, stylist for Annastasia Salon and an OregonSaves participant. “[OregonSaves] makes me feel like I actually have a career, and that’s what I’ve always wanted. Even for my parents to know that I can retire, that I’ll have a retirement someday, is huge … huge.” 

Workers participating in OregonSaves are already saving at a higher percentage of pay than expected, contributing an average of $114 per month. The success of OregonSaves will have long-term positive implications for the savers and for the state as a whole. Significant amounts of money will be saved by thousands of Oregonians for years to come as OregonSaves is phased in statewide.

Most importantly, this new offering ensures that every worker has the option to save, regardless of situation.


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