Oregon’s workforce is feeling anxious about retirement – more than half don’t have a workplace retirement savings option. But the retirement landscape is changing in the state with the launch of OregonSaves.
“OregonSaves is an easier way to save for retirement,” said Joyce DeMonnin, communications and media relations director for AARP Oregon. “It’s specifically for the 1 million Oregonians who don’t have a retirement option at their work.”
Oregon, one of nine states that have approved AARP-backed state-based, private sector retirement savings programs, is the first to actually implement its program. A pilot phase was launched earlier this year, and full-scale implementation is underway.
The OregonSaves program got high marks from a DHM Research poll conducted in Oregon during the summer with nearly 80% approval rating among Oregonians across party lines, according to John Horvick, DHM Vice President and Political Director. About the same percentage would recommend the program to friends and family.
Horvick notes, “Oregonians are facing two big challenges to our financial future: we aren’t saving enough for retirement, and many of us don’t have access to the tools that can help us save. OregonSaves is a first-of-its-kind retirement savings option that aims to fill in these gaps.” The survey found 63% of Oregonians are anxious about retirement.
“With OregonSaves, billions of dollars will be saved, that aren’t being saved today,” said State Treasurer Tobias Read, the chair of the Oregon Retirement Savings Board. “OregonSaves will improve the bottom line for workers, families, businesses and ultimately taxpayers.”
OregonSaves started with two “pilot” programs and is now facilitating the process for employers with 100 or more employees. There is a rolling phase-in for the program through 2020. 75% of employees in the pilot programs are in the OregonSaves program with an average paycheck contribution of more than $70. With just the pilot employers enrolled now, the program has more than $110,000 in savings.
“We think it’s a win-win for Oregon,” DeMonnin said.